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Are Fireworks Legal in NY? Your Complete Guide to Laws, Permits, and Safety

Fireworks are very popular in the United States, specially on The Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. They can be beautiful and visually stunning, with their bright colors and explosive patterns. Nonetheless, in New York state only some types of fireworks are legal.

The only category of fireworks that are legal are known as “Sparkling Devices”. However, these sparkling devices are not legal in all counties.

Many people enjoy the visual spectacle of fireworks, and the sense of awe and wonder they can create. Unfortunately, they can be dangerous. If you enjoy watching fireworks, you can always attend one of the numerous public fireworks displays available

NY Fireworks: Legality, Permits, Safety Guide
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Which Fireworks are Legal and Illegal in New York?

In the state of New York, the only fireworks that are legal are sparkling devices. Fireworks that generate a shower of colored sparks and other displays without making a loud explosion or launching into the air are known as sparkling devices.

Sparkling fireworks, which can include things like sparklers, fountains, and ground spinners, are often smaller and quieter than other kinds of pyrotechnics. Sparkling devices are among the least dangerous fireworks.

Additionally, legal sparklers must have a maximum of 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition.

Roman candles, bottle rockets, bombs, skyrockets and other aerial devices, firecrackers and metal wire sparkles are illegal in New York state. Remember that even though sparkling devices are permitted by state law, each county has the discretion to determine whether or not to permit them.

Counties like New York County, Columbia, Westchester, Nassau, Bronx, Richmond and Suffolk Queens have banned sparklers. Buying sparklers in a county where it is legal and then bringing them to a county where they are not legal may result in criminal charges and fines.

Sparkling devices cannot be purchased at any time of the year. The days leading up to The Independence Day festivities and New Year’s Eve are legal days for the selling of sparklers. Particularly from December 26 to January 2nd and from June 20 to July 5.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy Fireworks?

The legal age to buy and light off sparkling devices in the state of New York is 18.

It is strictly prohibited to give unsafe fireworks to children. In fact, giving or selling sparklers or any other kind of pyrotechnics to children is considered an A-class misdemeanor.

This implies that a year in prison might be imposed on anyone caught giving unsafe fireworks to children. A class E felony may be brought against the individual who distributes fireworks to children if they are detained twice for the same infraction.

What Happens if You Get Caught with Fireworks in NY?

Fireworks like roman candles, bottle rockets, bombs, skyrockets and other aerial devices, firecrackers and metal wire sparkles are unlawful in all the state of New York.

You might be charged with a violation if you are found in possession of $50 of worth of any of these illegal fireworks.

You may have to serve up to 15 days in jail as well as pay a fine. The same consequences apply if you are caught with sparklers in counties where they are banned.

How to Report Illegal Fireworks in New York City

If you see suspicious activity related to fireworks such as illegal transportation, selling or storage of pyrotechnics, you can report it by calling 911.

Any kind of consumer fireworks are strictly forbidden in New York City. Reporting is fast and easy. 

Safety Tips for Using Fireworks

Fireworks can be dangerous if not handled properly. In 2020, around 15,600 suffered injuries caused by pyrotechnics nationwide. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while using fireworks:

  • Use fireworks in an open area: Only use fireworks in a clear, open area, away from buildings, trees, and other obstructions.
  • Keep water nearby: Have a bucket of water or a hose nearby in case of a fire or to cool down used fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud”: If a firework fails to go off, wait at least 20 minutes and then soak it in water before disposing of it.
  • Keep a safe distance: Keep a safe distance from other people and objects when using fireworks. The recommended distance is at least 100 feet.
  • Wear protective clothing: Wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves and gloves, to prevent burns and other injuries.
  • Use a flat, stable surface: Always place fireworks on a flat, stable surface before lighting them.
  • Use a lighter or fuse: Use a lighter or fuse to light fireworks. Never use matches or other flammable materials.
  • Do not hold fireworks: Never hold fireworks in your hand while lighting them. Always place them on a stable surface before lighting.
  • Dispose of used fireworks properly: After using fireworks, let them cool down completely and dispose of them properly. Do not leave them on the ground where they can be a fire hazard.

Remember, the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional fireworks show, where trained professionals handle and set off the fireworks in a controlled environment.

The State Health Commissioner also encourages people to teach children that fireworks can be dangerous and should never be considered toys. 

Fireworks in NY: Legalities, Permits, Safety
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What are the Most Common Injuries from Fireworks?

Fireworks can cause a wide range of injuries, from minor burns and cuts to more serious injuries such as eye damage and even amputation. These are some of the most common injuries:

  • Burns: Burns are the most common injury caused by fireworks. They can range from minor burns to more serious third-degree burns.
  • Eye injuries: sparklers can cause eye injuries such as corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, and even blindness.
  • Hand injuries: Pyrotechnics can cause serious injuries to the hands, including burns, fractures, and even amputations.
  • Hearing loss: The loud noise produced by explosions can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.
  • Facial injuries: Fireworks can cause facial injuries such as lacerations, burns, and fractures.

Who Is Responsible for Injuries Caused by Fireworks?

In New York, who is accountable for injuries caused by fireworks depends on the details of the occurrence.

The producer or distributor of the pyrotechnics may be held liable if the damage was brought on by a flaw in the fireworks themselves. The injured individual may be entitled to bring a product liability lawsuit against the distributor or manufacturer in this situation.

Someone may be held accountable for an accident if it was brought on by their carelessness, such as when they used fireworks carelessly or without taking the necessary safety procedures. In this situation, the victim may be entitled to bring a personal injury claim against the offender.

What Happens if I Get Hit by a Firework in NY?

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may also want to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options. If your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The Importance of Working with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s recklessness while manipulating fireworks, you may be entitled to compensation. Keep in mind that pursuing compensation is not easy and navigating the legal system can be tricky for someone inexperienced.

Dealing with a skilled personal injury attorney may be very beneficial. A personal injury attorney is able to thoroughly investigate the incident, estimate the worth of your claims and build a solid evidence-based case.

Greenberg & Stein P.C. is a law firm in New York where you can find highly-experienced personal injury attorneys. Contact us at 888-716-3843 to schedule a free consultation to review your case.