What are Pennsylvania’s Firework Laws?
Pennsylvania law essentially divides fireworks into three categories: “Consumer-grade” or “Class C” fireworks, “aerial shells,” and “display fireworks.” Residents can legally purchase Class C fireworks that contain up to 50 milligrams of explosive material, but all others are off-limits.
What Restrictions Exist For Fireworks in Pennsylvania?
Before 2017, Pennsylvania residents could only purchase non-aerial items like ground fountains or sparklers. Class C fireworks, such as firecrackers, Roman candles, or bottle rockets, are now legal. However, other types of fireworks are still restricted. Those include “aerial shells,” which contain more than 60 grams of explosive material and are often seen at public events. In addition, display fireworks are illegal, which have over 130 grams of pyrotechnic composition and require a special permit, and are intended for professional pyrotechnicians.
Although consumer fireworks may be legal, there are limits to how they can be used, making it challenging for residents to set them off and follow city rules. Those restrictions are as follows:
- To buy, possess, or use Class C fireworks, consumers must be 18 or older.
- Fireworks can only be used on private property with the owner’s written consent and cannot be used on public property.
- Fireworks must be set off at least 150 feet away from an occupied structure, tree, or power line.
- Fireworks cannot be set off from inside or toward a building or vehicle.
- Individuals setting off fireworks must be sober and cannot be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Fireworks can only be set off before 9 p.m., except on federal holidays.
Setting off a Class C firework illegally can result in a fine between $100 to $300 for a first offense, $200 to $400 for a second, $300 to $500 for a third, and up to $700 for each subsequent offense.
What Are Common Injuries Associated With Fireworks?
An estimated 15,600 people were hospitalized with injuries related to fireworks in 2020. Sixty-six percent of which occurred between June 21, 2020, and July 21, 2020. The most commonly reported injuries caused by fireworks include:
Injuries to Hands and Fingers
Burns to the hands or fingers are the most common injury, followed by fractures, sprains, and contusions or lacerations.
Head, Ears, and Face
Lacerations to the head, ears, or face are the second most common injury, as well as burns, fractures, and sprains.
The third most common injury from fireworks is contusions or lacerations to the eyes, followed by burns.
Legs and Arms
Lastly, the legs and arms are often burned, and suffer contusions or lacerations, fractures, or sprains.
To avoid injuries associated with fireworks, never allow children to handle them unless they are older and under close adult supervision. Use protective eyewear and never light fireworks in your hands. Only use them away from other people, houses, and flammable materials. If a firework seems to malfunction, do not try picking it up or re-lighting it. Before discarding spent and unused fireworks, soak them in water for a few hours and always keep water close by in case of a fire.