NORTH READING– As summer officially gets underway and the Fourth of July draws near, Chief Michael Murphy and the North Reading Police Department would like to remind residents that the use of fireworks is against the law in Massachusetts.
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. Additionally, residents are prohibited from purchasing fireworks elsewhere and transporting them into the state.
From 2010-2019, 858 major fires and explosions were reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS) due to the use of illegal fireworks. These incidents caused 12 civilian injuries, 40 firefighter injuries and a loss of approximately $2.9 million.
In the past decade (2010-2019), 37 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burn injuries from fireworks (burns covering 5% or more of the body) according to the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System (M-BIRS). Fifty-four percent of the victims were under age 25, and were scarred for life.
The North Reading Police Department recommends that residents only attend displays put on by a licensed professional to ensure safety.
“Amidst COVID-19 health concerns, we all have had to make sacrifices in the ways we celebrate special events. The Fourth of July is no different, and unfortunately, many professional fireworks shows are unable to take place this year,” said Chief Murphy. “We urge our residents to find safe ways to celebrate this holiday without using illegal and dangerous fireworks, like giving your child glow sticks instead of sparklers.”
Residents should always:
- 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.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the misuse of fireworks can cause death and injuries including severe burns, contusions, lacerations, eye injuries and more.