(WIS) - The arsenal you and your family have acquired for your Fourth of July festivities is nothing to sneeze at, but in order to not bother your freedom-loving neighbors, knowing South Carolina's laws may be your best bet in having a fun and safe holiday.
First thing's first - you must be at least 16 years old to purchase fireworks in the state of South Carolina.
"You cannot take safety for granted when it comes to fireworks," State Fire Marshal Jonathan Jones said. "We want everyone to have fun, but safety precautions must come first."
Moreover, it is illegal in South Carolina to have "fireworks containing pyrotechnic composition in excess of two grains, designed to produce a loud and piercing effect, including:
- "ground salutes" or "cherry bombs"
- TNT salutes
- "bulldog salutes"
- small bottle rockets less than 1/2 inch in diameter and 3 inches long; all bottle rockets are not permitted.
Other than that, any other fireworks are permitted in South Carolina - mortars, spinners, cakes, aerial fireworks, etc.
"There are hundreds of permitted professional fireworks displays available to South Carolinians to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday," Jones said. "Residents can consult their local fire officials for firework displays in their area."
As for a curfew for firing fireworks, laws are on a municipal level, with each county setting their own rules. In Richland County, for example, noise ordinances are extended on July 4 and Dec. 31, when fireworks can be used until 1 a.m.
Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins advises being careful where your fireworks fall.
"Be conscious of where your rockets fall when you shoot them up," he said. "Make sure you have a good clearance, make sure you've got your extinguishing agents: a bucket of water, sand, fire extinguisher."
He also says that if you do end up with a fire, make sure that it is completely out. It's best to call the fire department to make sure it's extinguished.
Lastly, it's a good idea to clean your gutters since straw can easily catch fire.
Here is a list of safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
- Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
And let's not forget the safety of our pets!
- Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
- If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
- Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
- Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.