City of Plattsburgh issues a friendly reminder about the use of fireworks

(PLATTSBURGH, NY - Monday July 25, 2022) - Summer is synonymous with barbecues, parades and of course, fireworks.  Some smaller types of fireworks may be legal but they are not necessarily safe. The City of Plattsburgh would like to remind residents of the laws regarding setting off legal fireworks in the City and how to stay safe while doing so. 

New York State Guidelines on the Use of Fireworks

New York state bans all fireworks unless being used or possessed under a Display Fireworks permit. For regulatory purposes, the law distinguishes between fireworks and dangerous fireworks. “Fireworks” include firecrackers, sparklers or other similarly constructed combustible or explosive items. “Dangerous fireworks” are those fireworks capable of causing serious physical injury. They include:

  • Firecrackers containing more than 50 milligrams of an explosive substance;
  • Torpedoes, skyrockets, and rockets, including all devices that employ any combustible or explosive substance and rise in the air during discharge;
  • Roman candles and bombs;
  • Sparklers longer than 10 inches or bigger than 1/4 inch; and
  • Chasers, including all devices that dart or travel about the surface of the ground during discharge.

Fireworks Displays

Anyone displaying fireworks must obtain a permit from the City of Plattsburgh, which can be found on the City’s website. Anyone firing the display must be at least age 18 and hold a valid certificate of competency as a pyrotechnician. All required paperwork and requirements are listed on the city’s website.

Violations and Penalties

Illegally selling fireworks or dangerous fireworks is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a fine, or both. If the value of the fireworks sold exceeds $500 or more or the sale is to a minor, the penalty becomes a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine, or both. Penalties and fines increase with previous convictions for this crime. The provisions do not apply to, among others, anyone with a permit to use high explosives for blasting or signaling; state and federal governments; and sales out of state.

Anyone who possesses, uses, explodes, or causes to explode any fireworks or dangerous fireworks without a permit commits a violation, punishable by up to 15 days in jail, a fine, or both. Possession of fireworks or dangerous fireworks valued at $50 or more gives rise to the presumption that such fireworks were intended to be offered for sale.

Fireworks Safety Tips

Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires. 

If you choose to use legal fireworks, be sure to follow these tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire

If you choose to use legal fireworks, always remember to be a good neighbor and be considerate of when and where you are using legal fireworks. Obey City noise ordinances. The City of Plattsburgh Police receive higher volumes of calls reporting gun fire when people are actually using fireworks.

Sparklers are Dangerous

Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.

Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers. Better yet, grab a blanket and a patch of lawn, kick back and let the experts handle the fireworks show.