What are the rules and etiquette for shooting fireworks?

Published: Jul. 4, 2013 at 9:38 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2013 at 9:38 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's the Fourth of July and many of us are trading bucks for bangs and other loud and rowdy noises. But just how long should your personal celebration of our nation's liberties last before you start infringing on the freedoms of others in your neighborhood?

Looking around Casey's Fireworks in Columbia, you quickly realize that bigger, longer and louder is what celebrating the Fourth is all about these days.

And doing that can involve some fairly serious spending.

We spotted Delton Smith of Columbia in the process of becoming independent from more than $400 as he paid for a shopping cart's worth of colorful explosive things.

"It's just the excitement," said Smith. "I've been doing it for years. I love fireworks and being I've got little nieces and nephews, my son, everybody, you know. They get around them, they don't like to fire them off, but they like to see the pretty colors."

Actually, Smith had been considering an even larger buy -- a truck-bed sized crate of fireworks originally retailing for almost $1,300. Which for us, raised a couple of questions.

When you've got this much stuff to blow up, what days, and for how long, should those who love fireworks be allowed to light them up in their neighborhoods?

John Casey and his family have been dealing with the issue for more than 60 years.

"As far as I know, there's a noise ordinance out there, say by 10:00 p.m.," said Casey. "So we encourage them to shoot them prior to the noise ordinance of 10. That's our standard answer. And then the holidays themselves, up to 1:00 a.m. That's what we recommend."

While many coastal areas of South Carolina have banned fireworks, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head and Beaufort County among them, most other counties and cities including Columbia have no specific restrictions on when fireworks can be used.

Casey says buyers don't have to worry that whatever they don't set off will spoil anytime soon.

"We tell people as long as they stay dry, you can shoot fireworks up to 10, 20 years later," said Casey. "So there's no shelf life. The shelf life is as long as they can keep them dry they'll last forever.

So, have a bang-up time on Independence Day. But remember: Friday is July 5th.

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