Government Lifestyle Police/Fire

West Hartford Fire and Police Departments Say Leave Fireworks Displays to Licensed Professionals

Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford’s fire and police departments have issued a warning about the dangers of fireworks.

By Ronni Newton

As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, first responders in West Hartford are gearing up for reports of illegal fireworks displays, and are cautioning the community to follow fire safety regulations.

People ages 16 and up are permitted to purchase use sparklers or fountains, which are sold in local grocery stores and big box stores. Anything else – including novelty items that emit flame or become airborne – is being sold, or used, illegally.

In the state of Connecticut, all other types of “fireworks” are illegal. Section 29-357 (a) of the Connecticut General Statutes prohibits the sale, possession with intent to sell, and use or exploding any fireworks in the State of Connecticut and section 128-3 of the West Hartford Code of Ordinances prohibits the use fireworks on property owned by the town’s park and recreation department.

A violation of state laws and local ordinances may result in criminal charges and with prosecution, may include fines and jail time, town officials said. Anyone using permitted fireworks is also responsible for damages and injuries that may result from their use.

“Novelty items that emit flame or become airborne are not only illegal, but that are very dangerous and can cause serious injuries,” town officials said in a post on West Hartford’s website. “Please leave fireworks displays to licensed professionals using regulated products while following fire safety regulations. House fires, grass fires, injuries, and even death can be attributed to the misuse and handing of fireworks – especially those that are not governed.”

In using sparklers and fountains for personal use, it is critical that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and always remember that even these items can cause serious injuries and significant damage to property. These precautions must also be followed closely to avoid a catastrophe.

Instructions provided for the safe use of sparklers include:

  • Keep 30 feet away from structures and people when using showering sparklers.
  • Never allow children to handle sparklers.
  • Only light a device one time and only light them outside.
  • Remember that the metal sticks on sparklers get red hot and can cause severe burns.
  • Keep a bucket of water close by to dunk sparklers in immediately after they’ve been used.

Not only are fireworks potentially dangerous or harmful, but they can startle young children and pets – as well as veterans who may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), survivors of gun violence, and individuals who have experienced a brain injury, are on the autism spectrum, or who have a neurological disorder.

Individuals found to be in possession or are seen using illegal fireworks are subject to arrest. Any fireworks complaints should be directed to the West Hartford Police Department at 860-523-5203.

The safest way to enjoy this year’s Independence Day celebration is to view a display conducted at a state approved site by Connecticut licensed pyro technicians. A list of official displays can be found on the state’s official tourism site, CTVisit.

The West Hartford Fire Department and the West Hartford Police Department state that they are committed to fire prevention and community safety, and they are sharing this information in order to prevent fire and injury.

“Thank you for joining us in our effort to keep the community safe through fire prevention,” they said in a joint announcement.

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