Enjoy the fireworks—and stay safe

This is a fireworks safety post we published for you previously. The information remains the same, and we think it’s worth repeating. Above all, have a safe and happy July 4th holiday!


Every year, injuries from fireworks—often burns to the hands and face—send thousands of Americans to hospital emergency departments. And while Independence Day is the most popular time for fireworks, people set them off at other times too, making fireworks a year-round safety concern.


The best way to avoid being burned or injured from fireworks is to resist the temptation to explode them yourself—and to enjoy them only at public events conducted by trained professionals.


Even then, be sure not to let children pick up any fireworks that might be left over after the show—they could still be active.


Fireworks laws

Firework laws and regulations differ greatly depending on where you live. Make sure you obey your local and state laws. Check with your local police department or fire marshal website for the most current information on your area’s most current laws.  Here is a quick summary of the laws in the states that serve our Health Net members:


California – The only fireworks deemed legal for consumers in California are most ground-based and handheld fireworks (such as those classified as flitter sparklers/morning glory, smoke and punk, fountains, multiple tube-cake devices, novelties, crackle and strobe, wheels and spinners). They must be approved by the State Fire Marshal and carry the official State Fire Marshal seal.

Fireworks that are illegal in California are those that explode, become airborne or move on the ground in an uncontrolled manner. Examples of illegal fireworks (not a complete list) are bottle rockets, wire and stick sparklers, sky rockets, aerial shells, roman candles and firecrackers.

Additionally, you must be at least 16 years old to purchase consumer fireworks.


Arizona– Most ground-based and handheld fireworks are permitted (such as those classified as sparklers, smoke and punk, fountains, multiple tube-cake devices, novelties,  crackle and strobe, wheels and spinners). In general, aerial consumer fireworks including bottle & sky rockets, helicopters, torpedoes, roman candles & jumping jacks are NOT permitted.

Check with your local authorities on specific rules for airborne fireworks; some airborne fireworks are permitted in some localities (counties, cities and townships).


Washington – Nearly all types of consumer fireworks are legally permitted in Washington state. Prohibited fireworks include bottle rockets, sky rockets, firecrackers, sky flyers, salutes and chasers.

You must be at least 16 years old to purchase fireworks.


Oregon – Most ground-based and handheld fireworks are permitted (such as cones, fountains, wheels) that are purchased from an Oregon permitted retail stand. Aerial fireworks such as bottle rockets and are prohibited, as are any fireworks purchased from a non-permitted stand or online.

You must be at least 16 years old to purchase fireworks.


But if you do decide to use fireworks where they are legally allowed, always follow these do’s and don’ts.




• Buy fireworks from reputable dealers.


• Make sure fireworks are legal in the area where you use them.


• Read warning labels and follow all directions.


• Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a fire or other mishap.


• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.


• Dispose of fireworks properly—let them stop burning completely, then douse them with plenty of water before discarding them.




• Let young children play with or ignite any fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers can cause third-degree burns.


• Let older children use fireworks without adult supervision.


• Bend over fireworks when lighting the fuse.


• Try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.


• Wear loose clothing while using fireworks.


• Set off fireworks in glass or metal containers.



American College of Emergency Physicians

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

American Pyrotechnics Association


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Susan Peters