Fireworks: Do’s and Don’ts

PENNSYLVANIA - The Fourth of July means pools, picnics, and plenty of fireworks. Before you see the rocket's red glare, there are rules on what you can set off and where. Each township and borough has its own firework laws and ordinances. Most of them share several "common sense" laws everyone needs to follow regardless of where they are.

A quick search for laws regarding fireworks in multiple boroughs, townships, and counties in Pennsylvania show a person may not set off consumer fireworks on public or private property without permission, within 150 feet of a home or car, or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"Some local municipalities have enacted ordinance that still may effect what you're doing," Officer Derek Hartman, PIO for York City Police, said. "And we remind people that while they may set them off that there are also noise regulations."

Hartman reminded people to be aware of those with dogs and neighbors who might work early. Neighbors like Susan Pyles.

"I have cats and they get scared and they hide," Pyles said. "And if they're outside, they hide and you can't find them."

In Newberry Township, York County, Chief Steven Lutz said fireworks can't be set off at anytime between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. If you're caught, you could be charged with a Disorderly Conduct, and given a $100-$300 fine.

"We're not against fireworks," Chief Lutz said "It's just part of the job that we have to enforce laws and this is one of the laws obviously that are on the books that we need to enforce and if people are responsible and do it in the proper way fireworks can be okay."

Although you still have to be 18 to purchase fireworks, some laws have changed. All PA residents can buy any kind of aerial device or consumer grade fireworks, which can include things like bottle rockets and firecrackers. Those can only be sold in brick and mortar stores, which is why people might be seeing fewer firework tents. The tents can only sell ground base fireworks, like sparklers and novelties.

"I don't know if you're ever going to limit not setting off fireworks," Chief Lutz said. "I basically just tell residents to be cognizant."

Here's a list of places to go see public fireworks.

Here are some of the ordinance rules in the area:

Chambersburg

Newberry Township

Swatara Township

Lower Paxton Township

North Middleton Township

 

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