Fireworks for the 4th: What's Legal and What's Safe?
A handy guide to Bloomfield area and state regulations with tips to ensure you don't get burned or ticketed this Independence Day.
The fireworks are to the Fourth of July what evergreen trees are to Christmas: an absolute must–but also a safety hazard if not used properly.
The Michigan Bureau of Fire Services warns that though beautiful, fireworks can be dangerous.
"Fireworks can quickly turn a Fourth of July celebration into a tragedy when children and adults are injured while using fireworks,” said Michigan State Fire Marshal Ronald R. Farr. “For all the fun and excitement of fireworks, they account for an increasingly large number of injuries and fires that are preventable when proper and strict safety measures are taken.”
Farr recommends attending professional fireworks displays, rather than trying to create them at home. But if you must, here’s a sampling of some important safety tips to remember when you make sparks fly:
- Do not allow unsupervised children to use or play with fireworks–even sparklers.
- Once purchased, store fireworks in a cool, dry place and check each package for special storage instructions.
- Only light fireworks outdoors on a flat, smooth surface at least 15 feet away from houses and highly flammable materials such as dry grass or mulch.
- Be sure other people and pets are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Wear eye protection when handling fireworks and never carry them in your pocket.
- Have a garden hose, bucket of water and wet towels ready to use immediately in case of a malfunction or fire.
- Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water before putting them in a garbage can. Remember that cylinder fountains and cone fountains can still be burning on the inside after the shower of sparks have stopped and should be soaked in water before throwing away to prevent a fire.
Both Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township have specific fireworks ordinances that restrict use with what fireworks are allowed to be sold, purchased, used, or transported. Cherry bombs, comets, firecrackers, M-80s, bottle rockets, roman candles, silver salutes, M-250s, torchs, and wheels are all examples of illegal fireworks.
“Each year, we see cases of personal injury and damage to property when people use illegal fireworks,” said West Bloomfield Police Lt. Tim Diamond. "We'd rather ask people to see a professional show."
Use and possession of illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor offense, carrying a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
In all cases, illegal fireworks are confiscated and destroyed.
Wondering what kinds of fireworks are legal in Michigan without a permit?
Outdoor displays must comply with National Fire Protection Association standards according to NFPA 1123: Code for Fireworks Display, which can be found at nfpa.org. But as a general reference, if you can't buy it in Michigan, you probably can't use it in Michigan.
To find out more information regarding fireworks safety and the permit process, visit the Bureau of Fire Services website at: michigan.gov/bfs or contact the Bureau of Fire Safety at 517-241-8847.
Police recommend going to a professional show
There’s really no need to dirty up your backyard and put yourself and loved ones at risk. Professional fireworks shows in southeast Michigan are plentiful, with shows happening before, during and after Fourth of July weekend.
Fireworks displays will illuminate the township beginning Saturday and going through Monday. For a complete list of fireworks shows happening in Patch communities around Metro Detroit, view the story on Patch here.