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From the Fire Marshal: Fireworks In Connecticut

We look forward to the summer weather and holidays that celebrate the opportunity to be outdoors at picnics, barbeques, and other events.  At many of these gatherings, the use of fireworks, both legal and illegal, is on the rise.  When used legally and safely by professionals, fireworks are enjoyable.  However, incidents of injuries, such as scarring, loss of vision, dismemberment, fatalities or accidental fires caused by the private use of fireworks are reported each year across the United States.  Fireworks are a danger to property, as well as to people and pets.  The risk of fireworks injuries are two and a half times higher for children aged 5-14 than for the general public.  If a fire or explosion caused by legal or illegal fireworks causes injuries and/or damage, or poses a risk of either, the person responsible may be charged with a felony criminal offense.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is opposed to the consumer use of fireworks including sparklers and firecrackers.

As we are aware by the presence of fireworks vendors, it is legal in the State of Connecticut for  persons sixteen (16) years of age or older to possess, sell, or use sparklers and fountains.  USE OF ANY TYPE OF SPARKLING DEVICE BY A PERSON UNDER THE AGE OF 16 IS ILLEGAL.  DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO HANDLE ANY TYPE OF SPARKLER.  Sparklers and fountains are defined by the Office of the State Fire Marshal as non-explosive, non-aerial devices that contain less than 100 grams of pyrotechnic mixture.  Sparklers account for more than one quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.  The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office asks that you remember the following safety guidelines.  When handling a sparkling device, wear protective goggles and gloves.  Sparklers can reach temperatures of up to 1800ºF once they are lit and can cause third degree burns and eye injuries as a result of improper use.  (Glass melts at 900ºF and wood burns at 575ºF.)  Do not use ANY open flame devices when dry ground conditions are present.  Be aware of your surroundings.  Before igniting a fire, be sure others are a safe distance from the area.  Always have a source of extinguishment.  A garden hose or fire extinguisher can quickly put out a small fire before it gets out of control, only if it is close by.  If children are present, assure that they do not use sparklers or fireworks or pick up any that have been ignited and failed to explode.  Anytime there is a fire or other emergency, do not hesitate to call 911.  A delay in a call can make a tragic difference in the outcome.

NO OTHER TYPES OF FIREWORKS ARE LEGAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC ACT 00-198.  Illegal items include, but are not limited to, devices known as “M-80’s”, “Cherry Bombs”, “Bottle Rockets”, novelty items such as party poppers, snakes, smoke devices and anything that is explosive or aerial such as ground displays or roman candles or emits a flame

Local, state and national fire officials want everyone to enjoy a fire safe summer season.  They suggest that you attend a public show put on by experts under controlled settings and regulations.  If you would like further information on this or other fire prevention or safety issues, please call the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-891-4711 on Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30.

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