BBB offers tips for purchasing, using fireworks on Independence Day

Consumer Watch

RALEIGH, N.C. — Independence Day is coming up, and you can’t celebrate properly without seeing a huge fireworks display, or lighting sparklers with friends or family members.

Fourth of July celebrations are always a fun occasion, and since most were canceled last year, you can expect this year to be bigger but can easily take a wrong turn if the fireworks you bought were not what you expected, or prepared for. Whether you plan on attending a public fireworks display or setting off your own, Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) reminds consumers to exercise caution while participating in festivities.

Fourth of July fireworks and other celebrations in Eastern North Carolina

“According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 7,900 firework-related injuries were treated in emergency departments in 2019,” says Mallory Wojciechowski, President and CEO of BBB serving Eastern NC. “Consumers need to be sure they do their research about the fireworks they want to use, the seller who you are buying from and consider the location where they plan on using the fireworks.”

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BBB recommends the following tips to have an injury free Independence Day celebration with your friends and family:

Know the seller. Fireworks are usually sold on a roadside stand or at a temporary location. Be sure to only purchase from a reputable seller, and keep your proof of purchase and the original packaging in case something was to go wrong. Ask if there is a way to contact them once they are gone from their stand. 

Know the laws. In the state of North Carolina it is illegal to sell or possess firecrackers, rockets, ground spinners, roman candles, and aerial fireworks. A general rule of thumb is anything that explodes, spins, leaves the ground or flies through the air is illegal.

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Know what you are buying. Make sure you understand what each firework does before purchasing one. Ask how old the fireworks are, and be sure the fireworks you are buying are legal in your state to avoid hefty fines, which is up to $500 in North Carolina. 

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Know your surroundings. Be mindful of where you will be using the fireworks. Crowded subdivisions may pose a risk, as well as areas with a lot of vegetation that may spark a fire.

Know how to use them. Make sure you understand how to use the fireworks to avoid any damage to your property, or injuries to yourself or others. Remember, all fireworks can be dangerous if misused, so be sure to read and follow the instructions fully before lighting one. 

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