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Stay Safe and Legal with Fireworks this Weekend
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor

Consider neighbors and pets while you celebrate


            With the upcoming Fourth of July weekend and with many of the pandemic rules and guidelines relaxed, people want to celebrate.  If you're planning on using fireworks this weekend, here is a reminder about Pennsylvania's fireworks laws that will help everyone stay safe and legal.

            Pennsylvania restrictions include: You must be more than 150 feet away (that's 50-yards or half of a football field) from any "occupied structure" – which is defined as "any structure, vehicle or place adapted for overnight accommodation" or business - whether or not any people are present there; You can't set them off on public or private property without express permission of the owner; You can't set them off from within or in the direction of a building or vehicle; and you can't set them off if you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and, remember, some local municipalities have regulations that are in addition to state laws.

            For instance, the use or ignition of consumer fireworks is prohibited within the borough of Pennsburg whose ordinance includes: "Consumer fireworks shall include any combustible or explosive composition or any substance or combination of substances which is intended to produce visible or audible effects."  And, it includes things like "ground devices," "novelties" or "toy caps" as described in APA 87-1 (American Pyrotechnics Association 81-1) or any successor standard, the sale, possession and use of which shall not be permitted at any time in Pennsburg.

            Since substantially all the Borough of Pennsburg is located within 150 feet of an occupied structure, under the authority of the Pennsylvania Borough Code, the prohibition is extended to the entire borough in order to protect the health, safety and property of the residents and taxpayers of the borough

            That's true for East Greenville as well, as officials reported in the past that there is nowhere in the borough that they can be set off legally (within 150-feet of a structure).

            Some other municipalities have similar laws or require permits.  Residents intending on using fireworks this weekend are encouraged to review their municipality's ordinances and celebrate within those laws.

            Sales of consumer fireworks have more than doubled in the US between 2019 and 2020.  Burn Protection Network (BPN) CEO Dan Dillard added that during that same period, fireworks-related injuries have increased by 50 percent. In Pennsylvania, this situation has been even more acute since the passage of the Fireworks Law of 2017.

            According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),  statistics show fireworks start more than 18,500 fires per year and cause an average of $43 million in direct property damage.

            Safety suggestions offered by PA State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego to protect both their loved ones and property include: Never allow children to play with fireworks, even sparklers, which can burn at temperatures of at least 1200 degrees; Only allow adults to light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back away; Never point or throw fireworks at another person; Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a fire; Never pick up or try to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited; After the fireworks have burned, fully douse them with water before picking them up or disposing to prevent trash fires; Never use fireworks after consuming alcohol, or other medications or substances that can impair judgment or the ability to react quickly to an emergency; Whether attending a professional display, or using consumer fireworks, and always remain at a safe distance from the ignition location.

            Also, be sensitive of neighbors and their pets, particularly if military veterans live nearby.







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