Independence Day brings out all sorts of fun American traditions—including fireworks! This is one practice, though, that carries a lot of safety and legal concerns. So, before you start any grand backyard displays, check out our latest blog for some Maryland-specific advice.
Are fireworks even legal in Maryland?
Well, yes and no. Some fireworks are legal, but the specifics will vary depending on the jurisdiction. As a general rule, sparklers and most ground-based fireworks are okay throughout the state. However, the city of Baltimore, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County have the strictest laws. Here all fireworks are completely banned—even sparklers! Be prepared to pay a hefty fine (up to $1,000) if you get caught with any pyrotechnics this 4th of July, or you could face up to 6 months in jail.
Other places are a little more lenient. In Harford County and Howard County, regular sparklers are fine, but any ground-based variety is prohibited. Anne Arundel County residents have the most freedom with an allowed list that includes fountains, sparklers, wheels and spinners, as well as crackle and strobe. Still, anything in the sky is illegal, so if it you want to see fireworks that fly, launch, or explode, plan to attend one of the numerous displays tonight.
How can I use fireworks safely?
Well, you can start by buying/using only the legal varieties and storing them in a cool, dry place before ignition. Banned fireworks still lead to thousands of accidents every year, and homemade ones are just a bad idea—always. Even the “safer” ones like sparklers can still reach blistering temperatures of up to 1,800° Fahrenheit. So, be wary about letting small children play with them, even on Independence Day. If you decide to give kids sparklers, just warn them about the dangers and keep them outside, away from key areas like faces, clothing, and/or hair.
Keep plenty of water on hand, in case you need to suddenly extinguish a firework. Plus, you should soak them all in a bucket of water before disposing of them to ensure they’re not still ignited. Don’t allow children to pick up the pieces, even to help clean up, until after you take this step. You should be careful about touching fireworks too. Don’t hold them in your hand or too close to your body when lighting them, and remember to point away from all nearby objects, including houses and people.
Having multiple fireworks go off at once may seem entertaining, but it’s also a safety hazard. At home, be sure to light one at a time and dispose (properly) of duds immediately. Trust us, it’s not worth the risk of trying to relight them. Also, try to be considerate of your neighbors. Remember, certain groups are more sensitive to the sounds of fireworks than others, including pets and veterans.
With that said, we hope you have a happy 4th of July! Enjoy time outside with friends and family and keep our safety tips in mind. If you notice your outdoor spaces need a little sprucing up while you’re at it, please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We proudly serve Maryland’s Cecil, Baltimore, Harford, Howard, and Anne Arundel Counties.