July 4, 2024 Fireworks Laws: What’s Legal in New Hampshire

bulletin

CONCORD, NH – Home fireworks aren’t just for the 4th of July in many parts of the country, but before purchasing pyrotechnics, make sure you know New Hampshire’s laws on consumer fireworks.

Fireworks have been significantly deregulated over the past twenty years. Some types of fireworks are legal everywhere except Massachusetts. Many states also allow the use of fireworks on the days either side of the 4th of July and other major holidays.

Subscribe

In New Hampshire, here’s what you need to know:

Permitted fireworks, consumer fireworks, and Class C fireworks are allowed in the state. Fireworks shows and displays at entertainment events require a permit. Stores that sell fireworks also need approved applications. Residents must be 21 years old to purchase fireworks.

The New Hampshire State Fire Marshal offers the following tips:

How to enjoy fireworks safely

  • Read and follow all directions, warning labels, and warning labels on any fireworks device.
  • Never allow children to handle, play with and/or light fireworks.
  • Do not use alcohol while handling fireworks.
  • Be careful when lighting antenna equipment during high winds

Always

  • Set off fireworks in a bright, open area, free of overhead objects
  • Ensure a safe distance between buildings and any viewing public
  • Light one device at a time
  • Make sure there is some form of fire fighting nearby (fire extinguisher, hose or bucket of water).
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and dispose of them properly

Never

  • Extend each part of your body over the top of each device
  • Try to relight, modify or repair fireworks that do not go off
  • Point, point, throw or shoot fireworks at someone else

However, the tolerant atmosphere surrounding fireworks regulation is not universal. In states that allow consumer fireworks, cities and counties may adopt stricter codes and ordinances. And in extreme drought or strong winds, local fire officials can ban any use of fireworks. Three states – Hawaii, Nevada and Wyoming – leave it up to each county to decide where and which categories of fireworks are legal.

The strictest fireworks laws are in California, according to a map and list of state fireworks laws compiled by Reader’s Digest. The law allows a limited time frame for fireworks use, from June 28 at noon to July 6 at noon; limits its use to people aged 16 and over; and also limits the types of fireworks people can purchase.

Indiana has some of the most lenient laws. Anyone aged 18 or over can purchase and use fireworks whenever they want, from 9am to 11pm on non-holidays and later on public holidays. All types of fireworks are legal as long as they meet the construction and labeling regulations of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

States with stricter fireworks laws have cited data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission showing that thousands of people are injured in fireworks-related accidents each year, with several deaths also reported. About 10,200 people were injured and 11 died in fireworks accidents in 2022, according to the latest available data from the CPSC.

Also according to that report:

  • Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of injuries in 2022 occurred in the weeks before and after the Fourth of July holiday.
  • About 1,300 people were injured by fireworks and about 600 by sparklers.
  • About 38 percent of those injured suffered burns, mostly (29 percent) to the hands and fingers, but also to the head, face and ears (19 percent), eyes (16 percent), and trunk or other part of the body (12 per cent).

If you buy fireworks to celebrate Independence Day, follow these safety tips:

  • Do not allow young children to play with fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose on hand so you can quickly extinguish a fire.
  • Set off fireworks one by one and then quickly step back.
  • Never attempt to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited properly.
  • Do not use fireworks if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Fireworks have always been a part of Independence Day celebrations. After the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that Independence Day should be “celebrated with pomp and circumstance, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to another from this time forever.”

The first Independence Day fireworks took place on July 4, 1777. According to the Smithsonian Institution, they only came in one color at the time: orange. Today they light the sky with red, white and blue, the color of the American flag, but also other colors.

According to Scientific American, around a third of fireworks shows at the turn of the century were professional shows.

The gradual deregulation of fireworks occurred partly to tap lost tax revenue from residents crossing state lines to purchase fireworks in states with more lenient laws, but also because of lax enforcement.