RACINE — During the past few weeks, police departments across the nation have experienced an increase in calls for service involving the use of illegal fireworks.
Such activity is not uncommon leading up to Independence Day celebrations; however, the cancellation of officially sanctioned fireworks shows in many communities has resulted in an unusually high and extremely unsafe surge in the use of illegal fireworks.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- On average, 180 people require emergency room treatment each day due to fireworks-related injuries around the July 4th holiday.
- Fireworks were involved with an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during 2019.
Wisconsin State Statute 167.10 provides an outline to determine which fireworks are legal and which are illegal. The general is, any firework that explodes or leaves the ground is prohibited in the City of Racine.
Generally allowed devices (subject to content) are:
- Cone fountains
- Cylinder fountains
- Small smoke bombs
- Snakes (containing no mercury)
- Sparklers less than 36-inches long
Prohibited devices include, but are not limited to:
- Aerial salutes
- Roman candles
City police urge residents to keep in mind the following safety tips:
- An adult should always be present while children are using fireworks.
- Never point or throw fireworks at people.
- Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
- Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never attempt to re-light a “dud” firework.
- Always have water available (bucket or hose).
- The safest way to prevent injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals.
Ordinance violations regarding possession and/or use of illegal fireworks will be enforced, Racine Police Department Sgt. Chad Melby said. Individuals found to be in violation may face a fine of $313. Police will confiscate illegal fireworks and, per city ordinance, such property will be stored and subsequently destroyed at the possessors’ expense.