A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Division of Fire Prevention reminding Kentuckians to practice fireworks safety ahead of July 4th holiday

The Kentucky Division of Fire Prevention encourages Kentuckians to attend community events instead of celebrating with fireworks at home during this year’s Independence Day festivities.

“Let the professionals entertain your family,” said Mike Haney, state fire marshal and director of fire prevention for the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction. “By celebrating at a public event instead of at home, you reduce the risk of injury and property damage. You may also avoid violating the law.”

Anyone who does celebrate with fireworks at home is encouraged to research state and local laws before doing so. For example, state law prohibits people under 18 from purchasing fireworks, and from selling fireworks unless supervised by a parent or guardian. Fireworks cannot be used within 200 feet of a structure, vehicle or another person, and fireworks cannot be sold to anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

In addition to state law, local vendors are required to comply with local ordinances that apply to the sale, purchase, and use of fireworks. “Local governments set their own firework ordinances, so be aware of the regulations in your own town,” said Haney.

Haney also emphasized that safety and supervision are key to a successful and injury-free celebration. Haney recommends reviewing safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

• Know your fireworks; read the labels and performance descriptions before igniting.

• A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.

• Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.

• Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.

• Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles.

• Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.

• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

• Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.

• Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trash can away from buildings or combustible materials.

• Report any illegal explosives to the fire or police department.

From Public Protection Cabinet

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