Planning to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks at home? Here’s what you should know.

·2 min read
Alex Slitz/

If you’re planning an at-home fireworks display for the Fourth of July, hold up a minute.

Lexington has ordinances prohibiting many kinds of fireworks, and users of any kind of pyrotechnics should follow basic safety guidelines to make sure you finish your Independence Day celebrations in one piece.

Here are some things to keep in mind.

What’s allowed?

“In Lexington, if it goes up or blows up, it’s considered illegal,” said Lexington Fire Department Major Jessica Bowman.

According to the city’s website, that prohibition includes “all aerial and audible ground devices, such as bottle rockets and firecrackers.”

Bowman said that leaves sparklers, fountains, smoke bombs, ground spinners, “snakes” and the like for at-home users.

The website says violators will be cited by the Lexington Police Department.

Under the city’s fireworks ordinances, people who violate fireworks laws could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined $250 for a first offense.

In 2020, when there was a significant increase in complaints about illegal pyrotechnics in Fayette County, police said they usually talk to people about their fireworks use for a first offense, explaining the city’s ordinance.

If police get more calls about the same person after that, they said they may issue a citation, but a spokeswoman at that time said police resources would also affect the response, since calls about more significant criminal activity would take precedence.

Keeping it safe

“Our best piece of safety advice is to save your money and leave it to the professionals,” Bowman said.

She pointed out that the city of Lexington and most other communities put on free fireworks displays, and she said at least four homeowners’ associations in Lexington are also planning their own shows this year.

If you are planning to put on your own light display, Bowman offered these tips:

  • Never try to relight a firework that didn’t fully ignite.

  • Never point or throw a firework at another person.

  • Keep a hose or bucket of water nearby to douse spent fireworks.

  • Back up as soon as the firework is lit and keep your distance.

  • Don’t allow young children to play with fireworks.

Bowman said sparklers can reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can injure small children.

“Don’t be lulled into complacency,” she said.

And don’t forget the pups. Reports of missing dogs aren’t uncommon after Independence Day festivities.

“Now is a good time to bring your dog in,” Bowman said. “They get spooked by the loud noises.”

Courtesy counts

While many people enjoy fireworks, not everyone does.

“It can be stressful for veterans and dog owners and families with young children,” Bowman said. “Be considerate and courteous of your neighbors.”

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