Winston & Damman Blog

Fireworks and The 4th of July in Michigan - The Key Things to Keep in Mind

With the 4th of July weekend upon us, folks in St. Clair County and throughout our great state will no doubt be firing up the barbecues, jumping in swimming pools, watching community fireworks shows, and in many cases, probably setting off a few fireworks of their own. Ever since the Michigan legislature passed a revamped fireworks law in 2011 that eased restrictions on personal use of many types of airborne fireworks, there's been a great deal of debate about whether the increased noise and risk of injury is really worth it. There's also been a lot of confusion about what the law allows and what is still restricted. 

Remember, always check with your local municipality for specific laws that impact you, but in general, here are some of the keys to the Michigan fireworks law: 

  • Not all fireworks are legal. The 2011 law allowed for the use and sale of certain consumer fireworks without a permit, including fireworks such as: firecrackers, aerial shells not exceeding 1.75 inches in diameter, Roman candles, bottle rockets, and sky lanterns. Many "low-impact" fireworks such as large sparklers and smoke devices as well as novelty fireworks such as snakes, common sparklers and paper caps have been legal for many years.
  • The average Michigan citizen is restricted to using fireworks on the day before, the day of, and the day after a national holiday.
  • Using fireworks while under the influence of alcohol can lead to penalties ranging from a 30-day misdemeanor to a 15-year felony charge.
  • Using fireworks on someone else's property without their permission (that's considered the case even if your fireworks simply land on someone else's property without permission) is a civil infraction. 

In addition to knowing and understanding your local laws concerning fireworks usage, it's critically important to be aware of the following safety tips for fireworks provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • 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.
  • Always have an adult supervise all fireworks activities. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees. • 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 nearby.
  • 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 before discarding it. 

Whether or not fireworks will be a part of your celebration, our office hopes that you and your family have a terrific 4th of July holiday weekend. Have fun and be safe!

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