Submitted on behalf of the Bedford Police and Fire Departments
With the Fourth of July approaching, Police Chief Robert Bongiorno and Fire Chief David Grunes remind residents that it is illegal to use fireworks in the state of Massachusetts and to leave use to licensed professionals.
It is illegal to use, possess, or sell fireworks of any kind in Massachusetts, including Class C fireworks, which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks.” Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs and more. Citizens are also prohibited from purchasing fireworks elsewhere and then transporting them into the state.
Additionally, while the government cannot prohibit the advertising and sale of fireworks by mail, police can and will confiscate illegal shipments. Many consumers attempting to circumvent the law have lost both their money and their fireworks.
“If fireworks are found in your possession, they will be taken away,” Police Chief Robert Bongiorno said. “You also can receive a fine up to $100. Please do not attempt to purchase or use fireworks this summer.”
The Office of the State Fire Marshal reports that from 2006-2015, there were 775 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System. These incidents caused 11 civilian injuries, four fire service injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $1.8 million.
“The safety of our community is threatened by illegal fireworks,” Fire Chief David Grunes said. “They are also dangerous to the environment and can risk starting fires or hurting wildlife.”
This doesn’t mean citizens cannot enjoy fireworks displays this holiday weekend and in the future. However, Police Chief Bongiorno and Fire Chief Grunes recommend that residents only attend celebrations put on by a licensed professional to ensure safety for all.
Residents should also remember to:
- Watch fireworks displays from a safe distance.
- Call 911 if anyone gets injured by fireworks.
- Set a positive example for children by not using illegal fireworks. If kids see adults using them, they may not realize the dangers and could be encouraged to pick up matches or lighters.
- Be careful around even the smallest fireworks. Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and could easily cause severe burns and injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that fireworks can cause death and injury, including burns, loss of limbs or extremities, contusions, lacerations and eye injuries.
Fifty-one percent of fireworks-related burn injuries reported by hospitals to the Office of the State Fire Marshal from 2006-2015 were to children under age 18. More than a quarter of the victims were children under age 10.
“Fire officials across the state urge everyone to leave the fireworks to the professionals and enjoy the many public displays supervised by local fire departments,” State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said. “Be sure to set a good example for your children. They will imitate what you do and there are better places to the spend the holiday than the emergency room.”