Happy Fourth of July! The Department of Public Safety would like to remind everyone to celebrate the holiday safely and responsibly. If you are planning on observing Independence Day with fireworks, please take a moment to review the City of Charleston Ordinances and safety tips below.
City of Charleston Ordinances
Sec. 13-191. – Possession, sale, discharge; sparklers excepted
It shall be unlawful for any person to use, fire, shoot, discharge, sell, offer for sale, store, exchange, give away or possess any fireworks within the corporate limits of the city except for use in public display or exhibit under the provisions of section 13-192, except as provided by section 13-193, and except that the provisions of this article shall not include nor prevent the sale, possession, or use of toy cap pistols and toy pistol paper caps which contain not more than twenty hundredths (.20) of a grain of explosive mixture and fireworks known as “sparklers.” The sale, use and possession of such toy cap pistols, toy pistol paper caps and sparklers shall be permitted at all times. (Code 1975, § 24-72)
Sec. 13-192. – Public exhibitions
It shall be lawful for any person to use fireworks and public displays or exhibits provided that such displays or exhibits of fireworks shall be lawful only where the person desiring to give the same shall have first obtained written approval therefor from the chief fire official for the City of Charleston who may in his absolute discretion, grant or refuse to grant the permission so applied for, or may grant the same subject to such restrictions and limitations as he may, in his absolute discretion, deem to be in the interest of public safety in connection with such display or exhibit. (Code 1975, § 24-73; Ord. No. 1993-415, § 1, 11-23-93; Ord. No. 2001-54, § 31, 5-29-01
Sec. 22-5. – Prohibited activities in or upon a public park, park facility, recreational facility, or playground.
Unless permitted under a city special event permit issued pursuant to section 2-185 et seq. of this Code:
(g) Fireworks and weapons. No person shall possess, discharge, or set off any fireworks, firearms, weapons, or other explosive devices in or upon any park or playground, without written approval of the director of the department of recreation or the director of the department of parks. (Ord. No. 2010-111, § 1, 7-20-10; Ord. No. 2015-091, § 1, 7-21-15) (subheadings a-f; h-o omitted for purpose of this article)
Sec. 13-193. – Use of signal fireworks
Nothing contained in this article shall be construed as prohibiting the use of signals necessary for the safe operation of railroads, buses, trucks or boats within this city, nor shall the provisions of this article apply to any common carrier, while acting as such, lawfully transporting or having custody of fireworks in interstate commerce or for delivery within this city for use as provided in this article. (Code 1975, § 24-74)
Here are recommendations from the US 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 and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- 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 handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- 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 from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.