Abingdon Police Department
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TOWN OF ABINGDON, VA FIREWORK INFORMATION
As you plan your Independence Day celebrations, it is important to understand the laws regulating firework use in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Abingdon Police Department is providing a list of permitted fireworks and safety tips.
o Pharaoh’s serpents
o Bottle rockets
o Roman candles
o Any fireworks which explode, travel laterally, rise into the air, or fire projectiles into the air.
o When lighting fireworks - Set family boundaries. Have a designated adult light all fireworks. Use eye protection. Light one at a time, move away quickly, and keep at a safe distance until the display is finished. To prevent injuries, never throw fireworks and never hold fireworks in your hand. Never re-light a “dud” firework.
o Always read and follow the directions on the label.
o Only use fireworks outdoors and away from anything flammable.
o Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
o Use fireworks in parking lots, driveways, and gravel/dirt areas.
o Do not use under the influence of alcohol
o Have a rake or shovel as well as a bucket of water, wet towel, and a garden hose nearby.
o Monitor the area for several hours after using fireworks.
Be mindful of neighbors, especially veterans.
o For military veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multicolor pyrotechnics, and unexpected blasts can trigger memories of combat and induce anxiety.
o Please advise neighbors and veterans in your area of firework usage, so they can plan accordingly.
Keep pets safe
o Loud noises associated with fireworks make dogs nervous. Frightened dogs feel more secure in small, familiar spaces. If pet owners crate their dogs, they should put them in the crate during a fireworks display. If not, pet owners can prepare a small, dimly-lit room, and can leave on the television or radio to drown out the fireworks. Dogs should never be left alone outside during a fireworks display. The noises could prompt them to run away to get away from the noise.
o Also many dogs think the fast moving twirling, spinning fireworks are something they should go fetch and bring back to their owners, this could harm the pet. Also, pet may be prompted to carry the flaming fireworks off into the dry grass or woods, and start a fire.
The Abingdon Town Code addresses fireworks through the following code sections:
• Sec. 34-81. - When manufacture, transportation, sale, storage, use of fireworks unlawful.
Except as otherwise provided in this article, it shall be unlawful for any person to transport, manufacture, store, sell, offer for sale, expose for sale, or to buy, use, ignite or explode any firecracker, torpedo, skyrocket, or other substance or thing, of whatever form or construction, that contains any explosive or inflammable compound or substance, and is intended, or commonly known, as fireworks and which explodes, rises into the air or travels laterally, or fires projectiles into the air, other than sparks or those fireworks excepted under the provisions of subsection (a) of section 34-83. (Code 1985, § 7-14)
State Law reference— Similar provisions, Code of Virginia, § 59.1-142.
• Sec. 34-82. - Permit for exhibition or display.
Any person desiring to conduct or present a display of fireworks may do so if he has obtained a permit for such display from the town manager. It shall be unlawful for the holder of such a permit to fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the terms of such permit in conducting or presenting an exhibition or display of fireworks pursuant thereto. (Code 1985, § 7-15)
• Sec. 34-83. - Article inapplicable to certain fireworks; use of such fireworks.
This article shall not apply to the use or the sale of sparklers, fountains, Pharaoh's serpents, caps for pistols, or to pinwheels commonly known as whirligigs or spinning jennies.
The fireworks listed in subsection (a) of this section may only be used, ignited or exploded on private property with the consent of the owner of such property. (Code 1985, § 7-16)
State Law reference— Similar provisions, Code of Virginia, § 59.1-147.
• Sec. 34-84. - Penalty.
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, be punished by confinement in jail not to exceed 12 months, or by a fine not exceeding $1,000.00, or both such fine and imprisonment. (Code 1985, § 7-17)
State Law reference— Penalty for violation, Code of Virginia, § 59.1-145.
Remember, no matter how breathtaking fireworks are or how easy they appear to use, they are potential fire starters. The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries and property damage is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals.