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Fireworks Safety Tips

It is fireworks season in Harris County. Sales of retail fireworks begin on June 24 and end at midnight on July 4. Fireworks are beautiful to watch and synonymous with celebrating the 4th of July. The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office encourages everyone to visit public displays of fireworks. This is the safest way to enjoy fireworks. For a list of all public displays, you can visit www.hcfmo.net.

Each year, HFCMO responds to and investigates injuries and improper use of fireworks. If you choose to purchase and shoot fireworks on your own, please be safe and follow the following fire safety precautions:

  • – Follow the law.
  • – Make sure fireworks are legal in your community.
  • – Read and follow the directions and warning labels on fireworks packaging.
  • – Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • – Light only one firework at a time.Do not point fireworks at homes, buildings, or people.
  • – Never consume alcohol or drugs while shooting fireworks.
  • – Make sure there is a bucket of water or water source nearby for emergencies.
  • – Be considerate of neighbors when it comes to noise and the trash left behind.
  • – Soak used fireworks in water before throwing away.
  • – Pets and fireworks don’t mix.
  • – The loud noises can cause pets to become anxious or afraid.

Although it’s legal to shoot fireworks in unincorporated Harris County, there are a few places you are not allowed to shoot fireworks. If you are shooting fireworks in unincorporated Harris County, you should not shoot them:

  • – Within 600 feet of any church, hospital, an asylum, a licensed child care center, or public or private primary or secondary school or institution of higher education
  • – Within 100 feet of a place where flammable liquids or flammable compressed gasses are stored and dispensed;
  • – Within 100 feet of a place where fireworks are stored or sold;
  • – Ignite or discharge fireworks in or from a motor vehicle; and
  • – Place ignited fireworks in, or throw ignited fireworks at, a motor vehicle.

A person caught violating any of the rules above, can be charged with a Class B or Class C misdemeanor.

Did you know there is a difference between commercial fireworks and those sold to the general public? Only 1.4G fireworks may be sold to the general public. Fireworks that are 1.3G may only be sold to licensed pyrotechnic operators. These fireworks are typically larger and have more firepower than typical consumer fireworks. It is important that 1.3.G fireworks are only handled by a person who has a license and has been professionally trained to handle these explosives safely.

Did you know that businesses, organizations, neighborhood associations, and individuals who hold a firework display using consumer fireworks (1.4G) for more than 50 people must obtain a permit from the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) and have at least one Texas licensed special effects pyrotechnic operator on-site at all times when pyrotechnics are being used, discharged, or ignited. If you are thinking about having a large group watch fireworks, you might need a permit. This rule was put into place as a safety measure and helps ensure the safety of those popping the fireworks and those watching. You can obtain this permit through the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office. For more information, visit http://hcfmo.net/documents/fireworks/Fireworks_Display_Application_16.pdf.

Residents are urged to report complaints regarding the sale or illegal use of fireworks in the unincorporated areas of Harris County by calling (713) 274-1700 or emailing fmosupport@fmo.hctx.net. HCFMO will have an increased presence of inspectors and investigators during the fireworks season to conduct fireworks stand inspections and respond to any complaints. HCFMO wishes everyone a fire safe Independence Day.

Posted by Harris County Fire Marshal on 24 Jun 2019