Paul Zbikowski, Interim Fire Chief
23 Linden St.
Berlin, MA 01503
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Berlin Fire Department Reminds Residents that Fireworks are Illegal in Massachusetts
BERLIN — As the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaches, Interim Fire Chief Paul Zbikowski and the Berlin Fire Department would like to remind residents that the use of fireworks is illegal in the state of Massachusetts.
It is illegal to use, possess, or sell fireworks of any kind in Massachusetts, including Class C fireworks, which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks.” Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs and more. Citizens are also prohibited from purchasing fireworks elsewhere and then transporting them into the state.
Additionally, while the government cannot prohibit the advertising and sale of fireworks by mail, police can and will confiscate illegal shipments. Many consumers attempting to circumvent the law have lost both their money and their fireworks.
“We are cautioning residents against buying or using fireworks this season,” Chief Zbikowski said. “Anyone caught with fireworks is subject to confiscation and a $100 fine.”
The Office of the State Fire Marshal reports that from 2006-2015, there were 775 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System. These incidents caused 11 civilian injuries, four fire service injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $1.8 million.
This doesn’t mean citizens cannot enjoy fireworks displays this holiday weekend and in the future. However, Chief Paul Zbikowski and the Berlin Fire Department recommend that residents only attend celebrations put on by a licensed professional to ensure safety for all.
Residents should also remember to:
•Watch fireworks displays from a safe distance.
•Call 911 if anyone gets injured by fireworks.
•Set a positive example for children by not using illegal fireworks. If kids see adults using them, they may not realize the dangers and could be encouraged to pick up matches or lighters.
•Be careful around even the smallest fireworks. Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and could easily cause severe burns and injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that fireworks can cause death and injury, including burns, loss of limbs or extremities, contusions, lacerations and eye injuries.
Fifty-one percent of fireworks-related burn injuries reported by hospitals to the Office of the State Fire Marshal from 2006-2015 were to children under age 18. More than a quarter of the victims were children under age 10.
“Fire officials across the state urge everyone to leave the fireworks to the professionals and enjoy the many public displays supervised by local fire departments,” State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said. “Be sure to set a good example for your children. They will imitate what you do and there are better places to the spend the holiday than the emergency room.”