Fireworks: Know the Dangers & Law

Fireworks: They Are Dangerous and You Need to Know the Law

COVINGTON - Many people in Covington love to use fireworks, but they are dangerous and pose a real and serious risk of danger and harm.

Those using fireworks need to be responsible, considerate, mindful and safe this July 4 season, especially in the urban core where high population density greatly increases the chance of fire, Fire Chief Dan Mathew warns.

On July 3 and 4, a special team consisting of one Covington police officer and one firefighter will work overtime to address any and all safety concerns related to pyrotechnics in the City. This team will handle neighborhood complaints, perform firework site inspections and issue citations as well as confiscate fireworks when necessary. The public is encouraged to call dispatch at 859-356-3191 with all complaints related to fireworks activity.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires in 2011 in the United States. Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have banned the use of consumer fireworks all together.

City officials are also reminding citizens of the public nuisances associated with the use of fireworks. They are smoky and loud, and while many people enjoy them, there are many who do not like to be exposed to them.

Fireworks that are loud can be a real nuisance to citizens sensitive to noise including war veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They can upset elderly and sick persons. They can also affect pets with sensitive ears and make them incredibly fearful and panicked. The noise makes it difficult for parents of young children trying to put them to sleep.

Fire Chief Mathew says, "Citizens would do the community a service by not using fireworks at all in the urban core, near buildings, or near homes. Even outside the urban core, you really have to be careful because you can't control where they land."

Kentucky State Fire marshal warns:

  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Obey state and local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a working water hose nearby.
  • Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them.
  • Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated adult shooter."
  • Do not use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives -- they can kill you!
  • Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Safety guidelines set by Kentucky state law must be followed:

  • People under 18 cannot sell fireworks unless supervised by a parent or guardian;
  • People under 18 cannot purchase fireworks;
  • Fireworks cannot be used within 200 feet of a structure, vehicle or other person; and
  • Fireworks cannot be sold to anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Fire Chief Mathew strongly urges individuals, especially in the urban core, to avoid lighting fireworks and instead attend a local fireworks display that is supervised and safe.

"Safety and supervision are keys to a successful celebration. However, I recommend that families attend local firework displays instead of celebrating with fireworks at home," said Mathew.

Covington Police will be watching this holiday, said Police Chief Spike Jones. "We want people to be safe," he said.

City Ordinance prohibits the sale of fireworks to minors and intoxicated individuals.

It is also illegal to use fireworks in City parks at any time. Anyone who sees the use of fireworks in a city park should call Dispatch at 859-356-3191 and report the activity.