Arlington, VA

Planning to light off a few fireworks at home this Fourth of July weekend?

You’re not alone. Fireworks sales have skyrocketed this year as the usual public displays are cancelled or scaled back, and as people opt to stay away from the usual crowds.

While a deadly global pandemic is obviously cause for concern, socially distanced at-home fireworks can be dangerous too. Thousands of people report fireworks-related injuries each year and Arlington is no exception, although the types of fireworks allowed in Virginia are more tame than those permitted by some other states.

To help spread the word about fireworks safety, the Arlington County Fire Department held a demonstration at its training center near Shirlington yesterday. A video from the event, produced by ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott, is above.

More fireworks safety tips from the fire department’s website are below.

If you plan to use fireworks outside your home, follow these legal and safety tips:

Limitations & Prohibitions

  • Illegal Fireworks include: Fireworks that explode, emit flames or sparks to a distance greater than 12 feet, have a burning fuse less than one and one half (1.5) inches long with a burning rate of less than 4 seconds which emit projectiles; Fireworks that explode in any form, such as firecrackers, mortars and cherry bombs; Fireworks that leave the ground or rise in the air (other than a fountain), such as bottle rockets, mortars or roman candles.
  • The sale of fireworks to minors (less than 18 years of age) is prohibited, unless a parent or legal guardian accompanies the minor.
  • Usage of permissible fireworks by minors (less than 18 years of age) must be under adult supervision.
  • Permissible fireworks shall be used on private property with the permission of the property owner. Use of any fireworks on County, State of Federal property, such as streets, schools and parks, or any public right of way, is prohibited.
  • The penalty for possession, distribution, use or sale of illegal fireworks is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 or 12 months in jail, or both, and confiscation of the fireworks. Parties are subject to additional charges for use of illegal fireworks, such as failure to obtain a Fireworks Permit
  • Application and not being a Virginia State licensed Pyro technician.

Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Keep a minimum clearance of 25 feet from people and buildings.
  • Wet down the area before shooting fireworks.
  • Follow the label directions carefully and use good sense.
  • Buy fireworks only from established retail outlets displaying a valid permit issued by the Arlington County Fire Department Fire Prevention Office.
  • A responsible adult, whom is not under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, must supervise fireworks activities at all times.
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Use fireworks outdoors only, in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Light only one a time and then move away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a garden hose nearby or a bucket of water to place used fireworks in. Let them soak to ensure extinguishment before placing in regular trash for pickup.

File photo

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