HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro has detailed the work of the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, which is inspecting fireworks dealers throughout Pennsylvania to ensure fireworks sales are in compliance with Pennsylvania law.
The attorney general also offered a series of safety tips to ensure Pennsylvania residents enjoy the national holiday weekend safely and responsibly if they use or are around fireworks.
“Our office is always working to ensure the health, safety and welfare of Pennsylvanians, and this weekend is no exception,” Shapiro said. “Help us keep Pennsylvanians safe on the Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day.”
Shapiro noted that last year in the United States, four people died in fireworks accidents and more than 11,000 people were hospitalized. Children and young adults comprise most of those injuries.
In recent days in Pennsylvania, an accident in western Pennsylvania left a man badly wounded, and it involved fireworks at a fire company’s annual carnival.
In another incident, a display company worker was injured when fireworks went off at a Lehigh County warehouse where materials were being prepped for holiday shows this weekend. Both incidents remain under investigation.
Prior to the Fourth of July holiday, Bureau of Consumer Protection agents visited 21 fireworks dealers across the state to ensure they were licensed and that the dealers were checking to make sure buyers had the necessary permits from their local community before setting off fireworks displays this weekend.
Of the 21 dealers visited, seven were non-compliant with different aspects of state law regulating fireworks sales, and were issued warning letters by Consumer Protection attorneys.
“We’re looking at both sides of the firework sale process – making sure fireworks dealers are licensed, and ensuring their buyers have a permit from their local municipality before setting off larger fireworks displays,” Shapiro said. “This is about keeping Pennsylvanians safe.”
There are three kinds of fireworks under Pennsylvania law. Handheld sparklers and toy caps are not regulated.
Consumer fireworks sold to the general public and larger in size are regulated, as are display fireworks – the largest class and the kind usually seen at community fireworks shows.
Consumer and display fireworks both require the buyer to obtain a permit from their local town before putting on a show of any kind.
To obtain the local permit, the buyer must allow a local fire chief or public safety official to inspect and ensure that the fireworks show will be safe and present no danger to people or property.
In addition to buyers obtaining permits from their municipality to display fireworks, dealers must obtain a license from the Department of Agriculture. There are 82 licensed firework dealers in Pennsylvania.
In addition to the fireworks dealer inspections by Bureau of Consumer Protection agents, Shapiro offered a series of public safety tips so that citizens can enjoy fireworks safely during the long holiday weekend.
- Buy your fireworks from a licensed dealer. Only buy fireworks from a licensed PA fireworks dealer and read all instructions before ignition.
- Fireworks are not for children. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. A responsible adult should supervise all fireworks activity at all times.
- Keep a fire extinguisher close. Whether you’re running a big display or setting off fireworks in your backyard, keep a fire extinguisher close by. Sparklers can burn at temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees F.
- Act responsibly around fireworks. Alcohol, drugs and fireworks do not mix.