Sunday, December 10, 2023

State Fire Marshal’s Office Stresses July Fourth Fireworks Safety

RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Fire Programs-State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) reminds Virginians ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend that, in general, any firework that explodes, moves on the ground or in the air, or shoots a projectile is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Only “permissible fireworks,” as defined in the Code of Virginia, can be legally sold, possessed or used within the Commonwealth. A list of permissible fireworks can be found on the VDFP website.
Additionally, many localities prohibit the sale, possession or use of all fireworks. Virginians are advised to check local ordinances as well as the Statewide Fire Prevention Code prior to purchasing and utilizing fireworks.
“We urge Virginians to leave fireworks to the professionals,” said Billy Hux, VDFP Assistant State Fire Marshal of Special Operations. “As in years past, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Local Fire Marshals and Local Law Enforcement will be out inspecting retail locations to ensure items being sold meet the Code of Virginia definition for Permissible Fireworks.”
According to a press release, roughly 125 retail locations were inspected by SFMO in 2021, and nearly one-third were found to be selling non-permissible fireworks. In 2021, more than 10,000 non-permissible fireworks were confiscated that were either for sale, or in possession.
The sale, possession and/or use of any fireworks not classified as permissible is prohibited. SFMO advises violations can be prosecuted as a Class I Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,500 and/or up to a year in jail. Any illegal fireworks can be confiscated and violators can be summoned by a Fire Marshal or Law Enforcement Officer.
Those using permissible fireworks are reminded to follow these important safety procedures:
  • If you have fireworks, make sure they are on the 2022 Virginia Permissible Fireworks List
  • Check local ordinances on the use of fireworks
  • Fireworks can only be used on private property with the consent of the owner
  • Never use fireworks indoors or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Ensure adequate clearance from people, buildings and combustible material
  • Have a garden hose or other water source readily available in case of fire
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Never hold the fireworks in your hands while lighting them
  • Never point fireworks at a person
Those wishing to report illegal fireworks are advised to contact their local police department or contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 540-270-6617.

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