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Fireworks Safety in West Virginia

Posted in Safety Tips on June 30, 2019

Watching fireworks on Independence Day is almost an American rite of passage. It comes with a day of pure celebration and joy, often fostering heartwarming feelings of patriotism and familism amongst those who witness fireworks displays together.

Though fireworks are beautiful spectacles that West Virginian residents both young and old can enjoy, the state also allows some form of fireworks to be handled by residents themselves. Sometimes, home-grown fireworks shows are better than those hosted by local cities and towns, even if the show is on a smaller scale. With the privilege of setting off your own fireworks display comes responsibility, notably through adhering to West Virginia’s fireworks laws.

West Virginia Fireworks Laws

To ensure the safety of the public, West Virginia has set forth laws surrounding home use of fireworks.

What Kind of Fireworks are Legal in West Virginia?

Large, commercial fireworks are not legal for residents to use at any point, even on Independence Day. Large fireworks pose a significant of a risk to those discharging them and those in the immediate vicinity.

West Virginia allows its residents to use consumer fireworks. Consumer fireworks are a special class of fireworks that are small, combustible, and contain chemicals/materials that are approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These fireworks can be used in addition to the fountain sprinklers and hand-held sprinklers already available for purchase:

  • Bottle/Sky rockets
  • Missile rockets
  • Helicopter/Aerial spinners
  • Roman candles
  • Mine and Shell devices
  • Aerial shell devices
  • Reloadable fireworks devices

How Do I Have to be to Purchase Fireworks?

Only residents 18 and older can purchase legal fireworks from appropriate vendors. No legal vendor will sell to individuals under 18 – this is a valid way to check if the fireworks you are purchasing are illegal, as some are. Purchasers must also exercise discretion when attempting to buy fireworks for underaged residents.

Where Can I Purchase Fireworks?

Residents can purchase legal fireworks as registered stands outside of commercial businesses. Retailers can also sell fireworks within their establishment as long as they retain proper registration as well. Buying fireworks from illegal, vendors could cause safety issues, as unregulated fireworks can be defective.

Safety Tips

Fireworks can be fun, but they can also be dangerous. Remember to follow safe firework handling and launching practices after purchase.

  • Store your fireworks in a cool, dry place. Exposing fireworks to water can cause damage.
  • Supervise children handling smaller fireworks and sparklers.
  • Keep young children at least 10 feet away from fireworks during their launch.
  • Discharge fireworks in an open, clear area. Additionally, do not attempt to launch fireworks out from under a canopy, awning, or related device into a clear area – this is still unsafe and can cause fires through snagging.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby.
  • Advise all peers watching the display to stand at a safe distance during launching.
  • Light one firework at a time – do not attempt to run in near fireworks that are currently launching.
  • Do not try to re-ignite dud fireworks, or those that have already been lit.
  • Do not carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Keep your pets indoors during the display – pets are often frightening by fireworks and might injure themselves, run away, or interfere with the display.
  • Wear safety glasses or goggles when discharging fireworks.

Fireworks displays are a quintessential part of celebrating Independence Day. Though they bring immense joy to Americans all over the country, they are still explosives. When buying and setting up your fireworks display, make sure to keep safety in the forefront of your mind. This can prevent a memorable family experience from becoming a disaster.

If you or a loved one was injured due to a defective firework in West Virginia, our personal injury lawyers may be able to help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.