Safe and Legal Fireworks Use in Rhode Island
July 2nd, 2015
Injury Attorney Fighting for Victims of Fireworks Accidents in RI & MA
While most towns put on extravagant fireworks displays for the 4th of July, having your own private display is in most cases illegal here in Rhode Island. Below we compiled a list of fireworks that can legally be enjoyed within a safe environment.
What are Legal Fireworks in RI?
Rhode Island defines legal fireworks as any “ground and hand-held sparkling devices.” These devices do not explode or rise into the air, nor do they fire projectiles into the air, but may produce a cloud of smoke. This category includes:
- Cylindrical or cone fountains
- Illuminating torches
- Ground spinners
- Snappers or poppers
- Wire sparklers or dipped sticks
Of course, safe use requires extreme caution and care in lighting and setting off these fireworks. The CPSC estimates that 230 people per day go to the emergency room with fireworks injuries every day in the month around the 4th of July holiday. A list of tips on safe fireworks use can be found here.
Any fireworks that launch a projectile or rocket into the air are illegal in Rhode Island. Also illegal are any explosives that make a “bang,” detonation, or report. These include:
- Aerial firework displays
- A multiple-tube device containing more than one explosion
- Any sky and bottle rockets
The State Fire Marshal provides a handy list defining legal and illegal fireworks here.
Fireworks Display Permit Application
Possession and display of commercial fireworks requires a certificate of competency through the state fire marshal. You must apply for a RI Fireworks Display Permit at least 15 days in advance, with a copy of your certificate of insurance. If the display will be conducted on City property, an additional permit must be obtained from the Parks Department.
Proper Storage of Fireworks
Legal fireworks use includes ensuring correct storage. Here in Rhode Island we are limited to 125 pounds of fireworks per controlled storage area. The RI Fire Marshal defines a controlled area as “a designated area, either indoors or outdoors, within which limited quantities of hazardous materials are allowed to be stored, used, handled, or dispensed.”
A fire marshal or officer may arrest violators and seize illegal fireworks without a warrant. Illegal possession of commercial fireworks or pyrotechnics, in violation of Chapter 28-23.11 of the RI Fire Laws, requires a fine between $100-500 or penalty of up to 1 year in prison. Illegal use or display of commercial fireworks is a felony, and with a fine at least $1000 and/or penalty up to 5 years in prison.
Contact the Bottaro Law Firm about Your Personal Injury Case
Attorney Mike Bottaro has years of experience representing clients in personal injury lawsuits and insurance settlements in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including clients with fireworks injuries. If you’ve been injured in an accident the Bottaro Law Firm can help you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.