Know the rules and practice extreme caution when lighting fireworks

Published on June 28, 2021

A person beginning to light a firecracker in their hand.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City of Grand Rapids acknowledges the popularity of consumer fireworks and officials know that many residents will purchase them for use in their backyard Independence Day celebrations. But before residents light up the sky, the City’s fire and police departments urge users to know about fireworks regulations and safety tips.

The City’s fireworks ordinance, limiting the use of them within Grand Rapids, reflects state law governing the use of consumer-grade fireworks. It sets a civil fine of $1,000 for each violation of the fireworks ordinance. The ordinance also sets the times and dates when fireworks may be set off throughout the year:

  • 11 a.m. December 31 to 1 a.m. January 1
  • 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Memorial Day
  • 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. June 29 to July 4
  • 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Labor Day

According to Lt. Smith of the GRFD Fire Prevention Division, fireworks burn, blind, maim and disfigure hundreds of people every year – many of them children. 

“Our goal every year is to promote fireworks safety to ensure that not a single family in Grand Rapids suffers the pain and sorrow of a fireworks injury,” he said.

To reduce fireworks accidents, Lt. Smith offers these important fireworks safety tips:

  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions contained on the package.
  • Never allow children to play with or ignite any fireworks. Sparklers, although considered by many the ideal "safe" firework for the young, burn at extremely high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Many children do not understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
  • Keep a bucket of water, or garden hose handy in case of a malfunction or fire.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. Never shoot a firework at or near another person.
  • Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials. Never light a firework while holding it in your hand!
  • Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned. “DUDS” can re-ignite and injure you. If you must move them, consider scooping them up with a shovel, and dropping them into a bucket of water to extinguish. Throw them away after they are extinguished.
  • Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
  • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
  • Don't experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Never mix fireworks and alcohol!
  • Observe local laws.
  • State law prohibits igniting fireworks on a public street, public sidewalk, park, church, school or public rights of way.
  • Before retiring for the evening, make sure that your yard, shrubbery, trees and your home are free of any unwanted burning. Make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home.

“The best way to avoid a fireworks accident is to leave fireworks to the professionals,” Lt. Smith said.

A reminder that the Grand Rapids Fireworks, presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort will light up the Grand Rapids skies at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, July 3 at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids in celebration of Independence Day. 

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