Independence Day firework safety tips

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) would like the public to enjoy the Independence Day holiday and asks that people understand the dangers of fireworks. Improper use of fireworks can cause severe injuries and presents a significant risk of starting fires. The HFD also reminds the public that only firecrackers can be used on Oahu. All other fireworks are illegal for consumer use in Honolulu.

"We hope that people will respect Honolulu's fireworks ordinance and the dangers of firecrackers. While the number of fireworks-related injuries and fires on Oahu may not be as high as those nationwide, it is still too many for the public to suffer.  We experience the same trends as other communities where consumer fireworks cause the majority of injuries (most often to children and teens) and fires on Independence Day," said Fire Chief Kenneth Silva.

Approximately 8,600 people suffered fireworks-related injuries and were treated in emergency rooms in 2010, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.  Approximately 3,400 of those injured were children under 15 years of age.

There were 18,000 fires caused by fireworks in the U.S. in 2009, with direct property losses totaling $38 million, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend one of the public displays conducted by trained professionals on Oahu," Silva added.  "If you use firecrackers, please review these safety tips, follow rules, and be considerate of your neighbors."

The following information is provided to help the public remain safe and enjoy the Independence Day holiday:

Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Use only approved fireworks from a licensed retail outlet that posts its retail license.
  • Always read and follow warnings and instructions listed by the manufacturer to ensure the safe handling and use of fireworks. 
  • Never point or throw fireworks at a person, building, or animal.
  • Never ignite fireworks indoors.  Ensure your outdoor area is safe for fireworks use.
  • Fireworks should only be lighted on a smooth, flat surface away from buildings, dry vegetation, and flammable materials.
  • Do not string fireworks on utility poles.
  • Keep any type of ladder, pole, or tie lines used to set up fireworks at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.  
  • Have a garden hose or a bucket of water ready in the event of a fire.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
  • Always wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
  • When lighting fireworks, never position any part of your body over them.
  • Never attempt to relight malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Never experiment with homemade fireworks.  They are dangerous and illegal.

General Fireworks Prohibitions

It is unlawful for any person in Honolulu to:

  • Throw ignited fireworks at a person or an animal.
  • Throw ignited fireworks from above the first floor of any building.
  • Throw ignited fireworks from, at, or into a vehicle.
  • Set off fireworks on public ways, in parks, cane fields, or places of worship. 
  • Set off fireworks on public beaches or in forest or wildlife preserves.
  • Set off fireworks in school buildings or on school grounds.
  • Set off fireworks within 1,000 feet of hospitals, health care and elderly care facilities, and facilities for animal care, including the zoo. 
  • Set off fireworks within 500 feet from a hotel.
  • Offer for sale, sell, or give any fireworks to minors.  Honolulu's fireworks ordinance makes it illegal for minors to use firecrackers in Honolulu, even with adult supervision. 
  • Possess or use aerial fireworks unless the Fire Chief of the HFD issues a display permit per Chapter 132D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS). 
  • Transport fireworks in carry-on or checked luggage, airline cargo, or mail.
  • Remove or extract pyrotechnic contents.

Independence Day Sale and Use of Firecrackers on Oahu

Firecracker permits for the Independence Day holiday are no longer available on Oahu, as Honolulu's fireworks ordinance requires permits be obtained no less than ten days before they are used.  For those with permits, firecrackers will be sold from Friday, June 29, at 12:01 a.m. to Wednesday, July 4, at 8 p.m.  They may be set off on July 4 between 1 and 9 p.m.

Firecrackers must be purchased from licensed retailers no more than five days prior to its use.  Retail licenses shall be prominently displayed in public view and secured at the location for which the license has been issued.  Licensed retailers shall not sell more than 5,000 individual firecrackers per permit.

While firecracker permits for the Independence Day holiday are no longer available, consumers may obtain firecracker permits for the next holiday, which is New Year's Eve, anytime this year until Friday, December 21, 2012.

According to Chapter 132D, HRS, the use of aerial fireworks is prohibited unless the HFD's Fire Chief issues a display permit.

Oahu Fireworks Displays

All firing times are approximate 

July 3, 2012                 Display Location:     Aloha Tower Marketplace

Firing Time:              8:45 p.m.

July 4, 2012                 Display Location:     Turtle Bay Resort

Firing Time:              8 p.m.

Display Location:     Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, West Loch

*(Base not open to the public)

Firing Time:              8:30 p.m.

Display Location:     Magic Island, Ala Moana Regional Park

Firing Time:              8:30 p.m.

Display Location:     Maunalua Bay Festival (offshore)

Firing Time:              8:30 p.m.

Display Location:     Schofield Barracks

Firing Time:              8:30 p.m.

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Fourth of July Fireworks Spectaculars in Hawaii

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