RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Fire Programs-State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) reminds Virginians ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend that the possession of and selling illegal fireworks is a criminal offense – leave fireworks to the professionals.
In general, any firework that explodes, moves on the ground or in the air, or shoots a projectile is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Many localities prohibit the sale, possession or use of all fireworks. The State Fire Marshal’s Office advises Virginians to check local ordinances as well as the Statewide Fire Prevention Code prior to purchasing and utilizing fireworks.
“The safest way to celebrate the holiday with fireworks is to attend a professional show,” said Billy Hux, State Fire Marshal. “Improperly handling fireworks can result in catastrophic outcomes including fires and severe injuries.”
The sale, possession and/or use of any fireworks not classified as permissible is prohibited. Violations can be prosecuted as a Class I Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,500 and/or up to one (1) year in jail. Any illegal fireworks can be confiscated and you can be summoned by a Fire Marshal or Law Enforcement Officer.
If you decide to use permissible fireworks, please follow these important safety procedures:
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap. Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move quickly away from the fireworks device.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water before discarding.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
- Consider safe alternatives to fireworks such as party poppers, bubbles, silly string, or glow sticks.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office will be working over the holiday to ensure the safety of Virginia’s residents and visitors.