In Illinois and Ohio, citizens can only buy and use sparklers and a few other kinds of consumer fireworks. Illinois joins four other states in this level of safety concern in public use of fireworks; there are also four states that outright ban the use of fireworks by anyone other than professionals (Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York).
Indiana joins the majority of states in allowing most any kind of consumer fireworks (technically referred to as “Class C Fireworks” by fireworks manufacturers).
Of course, there are still federal laws that apply to these fireworks in all the states that control things like:
- what kinds of firecracker / fireworks products can be sold to consumers;
- who can buy them;
- where they can be sold; and
- the days where they are legally available for purchase.
It’s not legal for someone in Illinois to cross the state line into Indiana, for example, to purchase some personal fireworks. However, we can assume that some folk are going to do this, and there will be some personal fireworks set off in celebration of the New Year in Illinois, too.
These people need to know that it’s not just criminal law that applies here. Anyone who disobeys the fireworks laws and an injury results may face stricter liability standards under state law; and anyone who sells fireworks may also be held responsible for any serious injuries that result from the dangerous products they have sold for profit.
Firecrackers are Fun — and Dangerous
Consumer fireworks are considered to be “hazardous substances” under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. They are heavily regulated because they can not only cause fires and injure property but they can seriously injure and even kill people who are using them or are nearby to fireworks or firecrackers.
Each year, thousands are seriously injured or suffer a wrongful death from bodily harm caused by fireworks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, almost half of all fireworks injuries (40%) are suffered by kids under the age of 15 years old.
Still, firecrackers and fireworks are enjoyed as a part of the New Year’s tradition around the world and have been a part of our nation’s history for many years. Many families will not only enjoy professional fireworks displays put on for the public this week, they will also herald in 2015 with their own fireworks fun.
Fireworks Safety Tips
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
Professional New Years’ Fireworks Displays for New Years Eve 2014
- Kokomo, Indiana
- Lawrenceburg, Indiana
- Muncie, Indiana
- Nappanee, Indiana
- Vincennes, Indiana
Professional fireworks displays scheduled in Illinois for 2014 New Years Eve celebrations include:
- Navy Pier New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Chicago
- First Night Springfield in Springfield
- Peoria Ball Drop at the Ballpark in Peoria
Bottom line: this week, as lots of people around Indiana and our neck of the woods will be enjoying their Happy New Year celebrations with the use of fireworks, it’s important to keep safe. Be careful out there and have a Happy 2015 everyone!!!