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Friday, June 11, 2010

Fireworks Training Prepares Personnel for 4th of July Holiday

Seventeen members of the Department assigned to the Office of the Fire Marshal and Community Outreach recently completed a 4-hour Pyrotechnics Guild International awareness course presented by retired Prince Georges County Fire-Fighter Francis “Pinky” Pilkerton at the Fire Services Building. Pinky has over 30 years of experience in the Pyrotechnic industry and provided valuable information to our inspectors to assist with preparation for the upcoming 4th of July firework displays throughout the County. The instruction provided techniques to ensure a safe and successful fireworks event as well as overview of NFPA codes 1123 (Fireworks Display) and 1126 (Use of Pyrotechnics before a Proximate Audience).


The men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department want to ensure everyone enjoys the upcoming Fourth of July Holiday and to stay safe while doing so. The Fire/EMS Department is concerned about the potential for injury and property damage from fireworks. Every year, near the Fourth of July, we see and hear of thousands of people injured and sometimes killed due to accidents involving fireworks in the United States. Sadly, many of these injuries and deaths involve children. In addition to injuries and deaths, millions of dollars in property damage occur each year from fireworks. Prince George’s County laws prohibiting consumer fireworks have helped to minimize the number of these tragic incidents.


The Fire/EMS Department is reminding Prince George’s County citizens, residents and visitors that all consumer fireworks are illegal. Prince George’s County has one of the strictest laws concerning consumer fireworks in the State of Maryland. The Fire/EMS Department encourages citizens and residents to enjoy their Independence Day Holiday at one of the many public or municipal fireworks displays.

Prince George’s County has a law that is meant to protect you. There is no confusion about what is legal and what is not when in comes to consumer fireworks – our laws remove the confusion and make it simple; All consumer fireworks are illegal.

Public and municipal fireworks displays held throughout the County are conducted by licensed and professional pyrotechnicians and are legally permitted with sites monitored and inspected by members of the Fire/EMS Department to ensure that they are compliant with all applicable laws and are safe. These events are the only approved and legal fireworks displays that can be held. Backyard or private fireworks use are illegal and those responsible are subject to penalties.

The Law

It is illegal for any person to manufacture, possess, store, offer for sale, sell, discharge, use, burn, or explode any fireworks in Prince George's County, Maryland, except that an authorized display may be conducted by a licensed pyrotechnic professional. Penalties for violations of the law include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail.

Prince George's County has banned the sale, use and possession of fireworks based on the danger to our citizens caused by the misuse of these products. The combined, career/volunteer/civilian, membership of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department wishes everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July Holiday.

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