June 25th, 2016 by Attorney Dan Carman
Both the Boy Scouts and The Lion King agree: It’s important to be prepared. With the Fourth of July holiday around the corner, now is a good time to start thinking about safe and legal ways to celebrate America’s freedom from British rule. To that end, June has been designated as National Firework Safety Month. While synonymous with Independence Day, fireworks have grown in popularity and may be used to celebrate all sorts of occasions, from other holidays to weddings to county fairs.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that an average of 230 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. More than half of the injuries are burns, and around 34 percent of those injured are between 25 and 44 years old. Almost half are younger than 19, which is especially troubling considering that Kentucky state law prohibits the purchase of fireworks by anyone under the age of 18. Minors are also forbidden from selling fireworks unless they are supervised by a parent or guardian. The sale and purchase of fireworks by anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal, as is using fireworks within 200 feet of any structure, vehicle, or person.
Currently, the Bluegrass State allows all other individuals to buy and use:
- Smoke and punk
- Crackle and strobe
- Wheels and spinners.
More powerful fireworks are also allowed in many counties, though they must be sold at state-approved fireworks stores. Those temporary tents set up in parking lots are not legally allowed to sell such devices, though some still do. Many smaller governments have ordinances restricting the use of fireworks, so it can be difficult sometimes to know whether you are violating the law or not. Here in Fayette County, the sale, possession, and use of high-power fireworks are illegal. Basically, if it explodes or goes up in the air, it is prohibited. In accordance with KRS 227.710, a permit must be obtained for the public display of fireworks, which includes the use of pyrotechnic devices or pyrotechnic materials before a proximate audience, whether indoors or outdoors.
Some common sense guidelines for using fireworks include:
- Follow the directions.
- Have a sober adult in charge.
- Only use them outdoors.
- Don’t try to make your own.
- Light only one at a time and wear safety glasses.
- Never relight one that malfunctions (a “dud”).
- Don’t place any part of your body directly over them – even when lighting.
- Never give them to small children.
- Don’t aim or throw them at another person.
- Keep spectators a safe distance away.
- Have a working garden hose and/or bucket of water nearby in case of emergencies.
- Protect your pets — animals are often frightened by loud, sudden noises, so keep them safely inside.
Take an active role in firework safety this year. If you’ve been accused of a crime relating to fireworks, or have questions about how the law might apply to your situation, discuss it with one of the attorneys at the Lexington, KY-based Carman Law Firm. As criminal defense attorneys with years of experience, we offer thorough, experienced representation. Call today at (859) 685-1055 or fill out this online contact form to find out how we can help you.