HARRISBURG, Pa. — With Independence Day less than two weeks away, local leaders joined safety advocates at the National Civil War Museum to promote the safe use of fireworks during the holiday.
Pennsylvania's Acting State Fire Commissioner Charles McGarvey says residents need to remember that fireworks are not toys.
“It’s not that we’re trying to take the fun away from anything," explained McGarvey. "We want people to do it responsibly, so they’re not injured and ending up in a burn center.”
Pennsylvania firework usage has drastically increased since state laws were relaxed in 2017.
Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline says the city sees plenty of injuries, fires, and deaths as a result of misusing fireworks.
“The misuse is going to continue to claim lives and property if we don’t treat it properly," said Chief Enterline.
Daniel Pert with Phantom Fireworks was among the guests who joined in to promote firework safety. He says consumer education is critically important to reduce firework accidents during the holiday.
“We take it very seriously to make sure our consumers know what they’re buying and know how to use things safely, by asking them questions and making sure they’re leaving with an informed purchase," said Pert.
Under state law, Pennsylvanian's who are at least 18 years old may purchase consumer-grade fireworks, however with certain restrictions. The list includes:
- They cannot be ignited or discharged on public or private property without the express permission of the property owner.
- They cannot be discharged from within a motor vehicle or building.
- They cannot be discharged toward a motor vehicle or building.
- They cannot be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure, whether or not a person is actually present.
- They cannot be discharged while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or another drug.
“With a little bit of commonsense, slow down, pay attention to what you’re doing, exercise some basic principles, you can make that planned fun event end as a good, fun event," explained Pert.
Residents are also advised to check local township ordinances before setting off fireworks.