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Monday, June 25, 2012

Celebrate the Fourth of July Safely and Legally

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

The Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services (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. A recent example of the damage that can be caused by fireworks was just yesterday, Sunday, June 24, a large brush fire was ignited, possibly by the use of fireworks, injuring one firefighter in Kent Island, MD.  Our fireworks law is designed to remove confusion and to keep Safety First so that everyone can go home.

There may be some confusion among our citizens, visitors and businesses in Prince George's County about what is legal and what is not when it comes to fireworks available to the consumer.  The laws governing the sale and use of fireworks vary from county to county.  You may drive through a neighboring jurisdiction that allows the sale of fireworks out of temporary stands. The consumer may not know that the fireworks products you are purchasing are illegal where you live. 

Prince George’s County has a law that is meant to protect you.  We have removed any confusion about the legality of consumer fireworks in Prince George's County.  Plain and simple - ALL consumer fireworks from the smallest to the largest are illegal.  From sparklers to large ground displays - all fireworks are illegal.

The Law in Prince George’s County

• 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.

• Each year, across the U.S. thousands of people are injured and some killed in accidents involving the use of fireworks. These primarily involve those fireworks classified as 1.4g explosives by the U.S. Department of Transportation, commonly referred to as "consumer fireworks." Prince George’s County has banned the sale, use and possession of these fireworks based on the danger to our citizens caused by the misuse of these products.

The men and women of your Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department encourage you to attend one of the many public and municipal fireworks displays that will be offered for the Fourth of July Celebration throughout the County.

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