Pennsylvanians Urged to Stay Safe, Obey State Laws Regarding Fireworks

Jul 02, 2009, 10:00 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State safety and law enforcement officials reminded residents today about the laws governing fireworks usage and safety tips.

"Every year, we hear about deaths and injuries caused by careless use of fireworks," said State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann. "Such tragedies can be avoided by not using illegal devices, or by simply leaving the fireworks to the professionals."

Pennsylvania state law specifically permits the use of sparklers, trick noise makers, and other such novelties, and is one of only a handful of states that permits the use of "novelty" fireworks. These fireworks can be sold and used in Pennsylvania.

"Fireworks are an Independence Day tradition that, when purchased and used legally, can provide much enjoyment," said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff. "Before buying fireworks, help keep yourself and your family safe by checking that they are legal and from a reputable in-state dealer."

Consumer fireworks, including firecrackers, roman candles and mortars, are prohibited, unless a buyer is granted a permit from his or her local municipality and purchases them from a dealer licensed by the Department of Agriculture.

All display fireworks are prohibited.

"A happy 4th of July celebration can quickly turn tragic if fireworks are used without taking the proper precautions," said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski. "We encourage citizens to remember that even sparklers and small fireworks that are legal for Pennsylvanians to use are capable of causing serious injury."

Mann shared the following safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Sparklers should always be used under close adult supervision.
  • Always remain standing while using sparklers.
  • Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
  • Sparklers and bare feet can be a painful combination. Always wear closed-toe shoes when using sparklers.
  • Stand at least six feet from other people while using sparklers.
  • Show children how to hold sparklers away from their body and at arm's length.
  • Teach children not to wave sparklers, especially wooden stick sparklers, and not to run while holding burning sparklers.
  • Never hand a lighted sparkler to another person.
  • Never hold, or light more than one sparkler at a time.
  • Sparkler wires and sticks remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop the spent sparkler directly into a bucket of water.

For more information on Pennsylvania laws regarding fireworks, visit the "FAQs about Fireworks" at

    CONTACT:  Ruth A. Myers (OSFC)
    (717) 651-2009

    Jack Lewis (PSP)
    (717) 783-5556

    Nicole L. C. Bucher (Agriculture)
    717) 787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner