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Celebrate Firework Safety

Celebrate Safely to Avoid Serious Fireworks Injuries on the 4th of July and Throughout the Summer!

Many of us enjoy a great fireworks show as we commemorate America’s independence and enjoy summertime festivities in our great state. We are fortunate that many communities sponsor fireworks displays around the 4th of July, which have been vetted for safety by local and state officials. With several licensed retail stores in the state that also sell consumer fireworks to residents and visitors, the NH State Fire Marshal’s Office wants to share some tips for enjoying consumer fireworks responsibly, legally, and avoiding accidental injuries and property damage. 

Celebrate Safely by using the “three Bs”

Be Prepared before lighting fireworks
• Purchase only those fireworks allowed by NH law, available at licensed retail stores
• Purchase ONLY the quantity you will use (otherwise, storing explosives at home increases the risk of unintentional detonation)
• Only display fireworks on property you own, or with written permission from the landowner
• Contact your local fire dept. to check the fire weather conditions in your community, as consumer fireworks can easily ignite dry vegetation and grass
• Place a water hose or fire extinguisher nearby in case of unanticipated fire
• Use a level surface, away from things that can burn or easily ignite
• Call 9-1-1 immediately in the event of a fire or medical emergency!

Be Safe when lighting fireworks
• Adults 21 years or older are the only ones allowed to buy or use fireworks according to state law. Any local restrictions that towns have adopted must be followed as well. Check our website for a list of community restrictions that may apply to you (www.nh.gov/firesafety), or call your town hall or fire department
• Always wear eye and hearing protection, and gloves
• Always read and follow the safety directions provided on each device or package and ask the store for additional information
• Light only one device at a time and move away quickly
• Keep all spectators at a safe distance
• Only display outdoors
• Be considerate of neighbors, family pets and the environment. You can be held liable for damages to another’s property.

Be Responsible when finished
• Clean up all debris when you are done
• Devices that do not fire or discharge once they are lit are very dangerous; if this happens, stay away for at least 15 minutes, then fill it with water or place it in a bucket of water
• Ensure that all unused fireworks, matches and lighters are secured and out of reach of children

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), on Independence Day in a typical year, more fires are reported across the country than any other day, and fireworks account for half of those fires.

State Fire Marshal Paul J. Parisi wishes to remind residents that fireworks are explosive devices that can be deadly if they malfunction or are not handled appropriately. “It is extremely important to follow manufacturer instructions and to purchase from licensed retail stores to make sure you’re getting legal consumer fireworks, which are regulated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission to meet federal standards for safety. These devices have been tested by third-party agencies and have warning and safety information attached; which is important because it makes the consumer aware of the dangers involved.”

To learn more about a community fireworks display near you, contact your local fire department for available dates and times.

For a list of community restrictions, please visit the Permissible Consumer Fireworks section of our website at https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/firesafety/special-operations/fireworks/documents/fireworks-community-restrictions-list.pdf

Please, “Be Prepared,” “Be Safe,” and “Be Responsible” when using Permissible Consumer Fireworks, and celebrate safely this 4th of July.

Amy McLaughlin, Public Education Specialist
Christopher T. Wyman, Investigator
Paul J. Parisi, State Fire Marshal