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FIREWORKS: WHAT'S LEGAL, WHAT'S NOT LEGAL IN MECKLENBURG COUNTY?

Fire Marshal's Office Encourages Safe Use of Fireworks on July 4th

Charlotte, NC - About one-third of all fireworks injuries are caused by illegal fireworks. While many Mecklenburg County citizens will celebrate Independence Day at a permitted, commercial fireworks display, many people prefer to purchase their own for home celebrations. But the Mecklenburg County Fire Marshal's Office reminds residents that many consumer fireworks are not legal in North Carolina (N.C. General Statutes 14-410 through 14-415).

· Legal: The types of consumer fireworks permissible for use in North Carolina are generally classified as sparklers, fountains, and novelty fireworks items that do not have a report (explode) or are not intended to spin or to leave the ground and fly through the air.

· Not Legal: Fireworks items such as firecrackers, ground spinners, roman candles, rockets (including bottle rockets), mortars, etc.

North Carolina law requires the purchaser of any consumer fireworks to be at least 16 years old. In the instance of a public exhibition of fireworks, such as a festival, carnival, etc, a permit from the Mecklenburg County Fire Marshal's Office is required. The fireworks must be presented by trained, competent operators, and a representative from the Fire Marshal's Office will inspect the pyrotechnics and viewing area to ensure safety.

Violation of fireworks laws is classified as a misdemeanor, which may be punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to six months, depending upon the level of violation. The fireworks laws cover transport, display, storage, sale, possession and use of fireworks.

"We encourage citizens to take the safe route - and take advantage of a permitted public fireworks display. There are plenty to choose from," says Walker Reid, Fire and Life Safety Educator with the Fire Marshal's Office. "The laws are in place to keep people safe. So take personal responsibility for your actions, especially if you have children who can learn from your example."

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If you choose to use fireworks that are legal in North Carolina, the Fire Marshal suggests these safety tips:

· Always read and follow label directions.

· Have an adult present.

· Use outdoors only on concrete or asphalt.

· Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket).

· Never experiment or make your own fireworks.

· Light only one firework at a time.

· Never give fireworks to small children.

· If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

· Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trash can.

· Never throw or point fireworks at other people.

· Never carry fireworks in your pocket.



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