Fred A. Mitchell Jr., Fire Chief
47 Central Street
Georgetown, MA 01833
For Immediate Release
Friday, June 15, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Georgetown Fire Department Reminds Residents to Leave Fireworks Shows to the Professionals
GEORGETOWN — As the Fourth of July approaches, Chief Fred A. Mitchell Jr. and the Georgetown Fire Department remind residents that buying or using fireworks in the state of Massachusetts is prohibited, and that misusing them can cause lasting injuries.
It is illegal to use, possess, or sell fireworks of any kind in Massachusetts, including Class C fireworks, which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks.”
Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs and more. Residents are also prohibited from purchasing fireworks elsewhere and transporting them into the state.
Additionally, while the government cannot prohibit the advertising and sale of fireworks by mail, police can and will confiscate illegal shipments. Many consumers attempting to circumvent the law have lost both their money and their fireworks.
“Watching fireworks with family and friends is a high point for many people on the Fourth of July, but please leave it to licensed professionals,” said Chief Mitchell. “Possessing or using fireworks is illegal in Massachusetts, and handling them improperly can result in serious injuries, or worse.”
The Office of the State Fire Marshal reports that from 2007-2016, there were 826 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System. These incidents caused 11 civilian injuries, five fire service injuries and an estimated loss of $1.8 million.
In addition to injuries, the sound created by fireworks exploding can cause stress, which can be experienced by people who may be sensitive to loud noises, such as the elderly and veterans who may suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Pets may also be susceptible to such noises.
This does not mean residents cannot enjoy fireworks displays over the course of the summer. However, Chief Mitchell recommends that residents only attend celebrations put on by a licensed professional to ensure safety.
Residents should also remember to:
- Watch fireworks displays from a safe distance
- Call 911 if anyone gets injured by fireworks
- Set a positive example for children by not using illegal fireworks. If kids see adults using them, they may not realize the dangers and could be encouraged to pick up matches or lighters
- Be careful around even the smallest fireworks. Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees and could easily cause severe burns and injuries
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that fireworks can cause death and injury, including burns, loss of limbs or extremities, contusions, lacerations and eye injuries.
Fifty-one percent of fireworks-related burn injuries reported by hospitals to the Office of the State Fire Marshal from 2007-2016 were to children under age 18. More than a quarter of the victims were children under age 10.
Anyone who has questions about fireworks or firework safety should contact the Georgetown Fire Department at 978-352-5757.