Fireworks safety tips and regulations

Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – If you’ve stocked up on fireworks from a local stand or store, you may want to think twice before you strike a match.

The Virginia Beach Fire Department sent out a reminder this week spreading the word that fireworks are illegal in Virginia. That includes sparklers in some areas, such as Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.

Virginia Beach fire officials recommend that instead of lighting your own fireworks, you enjoy a public display. They say consumer fireworks cause nearly 10,000 injuries nationwide each year.

In Chesapeake, police also sent out a safety reminder, including that any firework bigger than a cap for a toy gun or a pull string popper (confetti shooter) is illegal in Chesapeake. Possession or use of illegal fireworks can be punishable by up to a year in jail a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

The bottom line is that safety is top priority.

If you’re traveling elsewhere, and plan to use fireworks, the National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these tips:

  • Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  • Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks.  Read the caution label before igniting.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department

If you have concerns about illegal fireworks in your area, contact the public safety non-emergency line at 757-382-6161.