What July 4thcelebration is complete without at least a few fireworks? Whether you’re planning on setting off your own or going to a big, local display, there are lots of ways to incorporate them this holiday. If you’re more of a DIY kind of person, here’s a few things you should know about using fireworks safely, specifically in Maryland.
Are fireworks legal here?
Well, technically yes and no. It really depends on where exactly you live in Maryland. Most places throughout the state will allow simple fireworks like sparklers or other ground-based displays. However, there are certain areas where they’re banned completely. So, if you live in Baltimore City, Montgomery County, or Prince George’s County, you may want to catch one of the authorized firework showings nearby. In any of these places, they’re completely banned—including sparklers! And getting caught with some of the more dangerous varieties could lead to heavy fines (up to $1,000) or even jailtime (up to 6 months)!
For most places, including Carroll and Howard Counties, only novelty fireworks are allowed, such as snakes, sparklers, and poppers. Ground-based varieties are prohibited in both Hartford and Howard Counties, though. If you’re going to be in Anne Arundel County today, you have a little more freedom with options like fountains, wheels and spinners, as well as crackle and strobes. However, after a teenager was injured earlier this week in Carroll County thanks to improper firework handling, the Maryland State Fire Marshall is encouraging all residents to go to a local display instead. Here’s more on that story.
What are some tips to use them safely?
Well, one of the primary ways to avoid any issues this 4thof July (even at home) is to use only the fireworks that are legal in Maryland. Most injuries come about when lighting airborne varieties, or even homemade ones. Plus, how you store them matters! They should be kept in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to use them, and any duds should be immediately discarded. Trust us, it’s not worth trying to relight them.
Keep in mind, even the “safe” ones, like sparklers can still reach extremely high temperatures—up to 1,800°Fahrenheit. So, be sure to warn children (and others) against getting them too close to common areas like faces, hair, and clothing. You can also model good behavior by holding them away from your body to light them and never pointing them toward other people or structures.
For cleanup, try to keep a bucket of water on-hand. This comes in handy if you need to suddenly extinguish a firework. Plus, you should soak all of them before disposal to ensure they’re not still ignited in any way. Let the adults handle this step—including picking up the pieces—to prevent any child-related accidents during this time.
When in doubt, just go out! Here’s a complete list of fireworks displays throughout Maryland in honor of Independence Day. Although we’re closed today at Freedom Insurance, we wish you and yours a very safe, happy holiday.