Stay safe, and legal, this Fourth of July


BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Police Department is reminding people that possession and use of fireworks in Vermont is illegal and can be dangerous. Both civil and criminal penalties can be assessed to violators of the statute.

And the Brattleboro Fire Department urges all residents to be safe on the Fourth of July. Fireworks all too often result in serious burns, hearing loss and other injuries due to mis-use. Even sparklers, which are considered by many to be harmless, can reach, 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause third degree burns.

Because of the danger, all fireworks, not including sparklers and novelty devices, are illegal in Vermont except for permitted, supervised public fireworks displays. A permit for a display is required by the chief of police and fire department of the municipality in which the display is to be held and shall be of a character, and so located, discharged or fired as, in the opinion of the chief of the fire department, shall not be hazardous to property or endanger any person or persons. The sale, possession, use and distribution of fireworks is legal only after the permit is granted. Applications for a permit must be made at least 15 days in advance of the fireworks display.

Sparklers less than 14 inches long with no more than 20 grams of pyrotechnic mixture and novelty sparkling items limited to snakes, party poppers, glow worms, smoke devices, string poppers, snappers, or drop pops with no more than 0.25 grains of explosive mixture, that are in compliance with United States Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations, are legal for sale and use in Vermont. However, even sparklers and smoke devices can be harmful if not used properly always make sure that everyone uses sparklers in a safe and responsible manner.

Fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable, especially in the hands of amateurs. Public fireworks displays conducted by trained professionals and supervised by local fire departments are a good alternative to personal fireworks use.

In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.

In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries; 55 percent of 2012 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 31percent were to the head.

The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 15-24, followed by children under 10.

On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

Anyone with question or concerns should contact the Brattleboro Fire Department at 802-254-4831 or the Brattleboro Police Department at 802-257-7950.


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