Celebrate 4th of July Safely – Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

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Provided by Prince William Fire & Rescue System

Rarely do we consider fireworks harmful, much less deadly. Yet fireworks are one of the biggest fire dangers to life and property. Each year, thousands of fireworks-related injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments throughout the United States. Although Prince William County permits the use of some fireworks, restrictions apply and for good reason. No matter how breathtaking fireworks are or how easy they appear to use, they are potential fire starters. Chief Tim Keen of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue System encourages residents to leave fireworks demonstrations to trained professionals by enjoying one of the many larger aerial fireworks shows in the area.

The following locations in the county have permitted aerial fireworks displays:
• 12500 Kyle Wilson Drive (Catharpin Park) – Friday, July 1
• 1 Turtle Point Drive (Robert Trent Jones) – Saturday, July 2
• 14610 Glenkirk Road – Saturday, July 2
• 4398 Spillway Lane (Lake Montclair – Dolphin Beach) – Monday, July 4
• 3730 Greentree Lane (Rose Gaming Resort, formerly Potomac Landfill) – Saturday, July 9

However, should you choose to purchase fireworks, Chief Keen recommends purchasing from fireworks stands that have been inspected and approved by the Fire Marshal’s Office. All stands in Prince William County are properly permitted to sell fireworks displayed. To view the list of 2022 permissible fireworks and approved fireworks stands, click here.

To assist residents in preparation for the Fourth of July and additional festivities held throughout the summer, the Fire Marshal’s Office suggests the following fireworks safety tips:

  • Fireworks should only be ignited by an adult.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors in an open space clear of spectators, buildings, vehicles, debris, and flammable materials or on a driveway, sidewalk, or other fire-resistant surface. Remember, fires are caused by careless handling of fireworks in areas exposed to sparks or live fireworks.
  • Keep spectators a safe distance away from permissible fireworks at a minimum of 25 feet for ground items.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy in case sparks start a fire.
  • Be sure children around fireworks know to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches on fire.
  • Deposit sparklers in a metal container as they may be stepped on while hot or lost in the grass and stepped on while playing.
  • DO NOT place used fireworks in combustible trash cans or bags.
  • NEVER aim or throw fireworks at another person.
  • NEVER try to re-ignite fireworks that malfunction or fail to go off.
  • DO NOT wear loose clothing when using fireworks.
  • NEVER experiment or make your own fireworks.
  • NEVER carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Pets may be frightened by the noise and lights of fireworks; keep pets inside or away from the area when in use.

Illegal Fireworks

Illegal Fireworks in Prince William County without approved permits are defined as: Any firecracker, torpedo, skyrocket, or other substance or object, of whatever form or construction, that contains any explosive or inflammable compound or substance, and is intended, or commonly known as fireworks, and which explodes, rises into the air or travels laterally, or fires projectiles into the air.

The Fire Marshal’s Office would like to warn County citizens that many fireworks sold through the mail/online or purchased from companies in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina are illegal. A local radio station is running advertisements from a West Virginia fireworks company. Buyers should be aware and cautious of what they are buying. Many of their products are dangerous and unlawful to possess in Virginia.

If you are in possession of illegal fireworks, please contact the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office for disposal at 703-792-6360. DO NOT throw them in the garbage! Turning in illegal fireworks will not result in any fines or summons, and no questions will be asked.

For more information on fireworks safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association, the National Council on Fireworks Safety, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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