Fireworks and the Fourth of July may go hand-in-hand, but Hoosiers are being reminded to use common sense when celebrating this weekend. Consumer fireworks such as firecrackers, bottle rockets, and roman candles are legal in Indiana, but State Fire Marshal James Greeson says they are still dangerous.
“There’s many more fires usually reported on Fourth of July weekends, or those days right around Fourth of July,” says Greeson. “It’s that time of year when more injuries occur, and over a third of those injuries are people under 18 years of age – primarily children.”
Greeson says the safest option is to leave fireworks to the professionals and attend local, licensed and approved fireworks displays where proper safety precautions are in place.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the weeks surrounding the July 4th holiday about 200 people per day visit emergency rooms with fireworks-related injuries.
State law says fireworks can be set off between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. any day of the week. On holidays, that time period is extended to midnight. Fireworks can be set off on your own property, the property of someone else who gives permission, or at a designated local jurisdiction. Greeson says fireworks should only be handled by adults, even the novelty types.
“Sparklers are a big thing with kids,” says Greeson, “and we understand that, especially with little bitty kids. It’s all about the excitement. We recommend in place of sparklers, maybe a parent buys glow sticks. They’re always safe and they last for quite a while longer.”
Setting off fireworks in an unauthorized location is a violation of state law, along with damaging property or injuring someone while using fireworks. Penalties range from fines of $500 to $1,000, or possible jail time, depending on the offense.