Light Up Sky Safely: New RI Law

Here's a briefing on Rhode Island’s fireworks law.

Fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand in hand. Uncle Sam and red, white, and blue have their place, but fireworks have been a part of Independence Day almost forever.

This year is the first for legal consumer fireworks sales in Rhode Island. Sparklers and other varieties of legal firecrackers are being sold in hawkers' tents, at local supermarkets, and at shops like the one that opened a few weeks ago on Wampanoag Trail in Riverside.

But before you set off your fireworks, there are a few updated laws of which you should be aware.

Only sparklers and ground devices are legal for consumer purchase in Rhode Island. Under this category fall cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, illuminating torches, ground spinners, and toy smoke devices, among others. The full list can be found at the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s website.

According to the guidelines, “any firecrackers, rockets, mortars, or any other devices that launch a projectile and/or make a 'bang'/detonation/report are not legal.” This includes all aerial fireworks.

As of June 29, new guidelines have been added regarding multiple tube fireworks devices and pyrotechnic articles.

Sale, possession, and use of all types of fireworks are to be under the governance of John Chartier, State Fire Marshal. You must be 16 years of age to purchase and possess fireworks in Rhode Island.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, each Fourth of July there are thousands of people, most often teens and children, injured while using consumer fireworks.

The risk of fireworks injury is more than twice as high for children 10-14 than it is for the general population. The NFPA has released an impressive graphic that details how hot is hot.

Sparklers, which are legal in RI, burn at 1,200° Farenheit, enough to produce third-degree burns. To put that in perspective, water boils at 212°F, cakes bake at 350°F, wood burns at 575°F and glass melts at 900°F.

Patch's MaryLou Butler contributed to this report.


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