HomeFire DepartmentFourth of July Firework Safety

Fourth of July Firework Safety

The Fourth of July marks a time of celebration and gatherings with family and friends.  But every year, there are thousands of people sent to the emergency room for treatment from mishandling of live, misfired and waste consumer fireworks.  “Children ages 10–14 had the highest rate of fireworks injury, with more than one-third (36%) of the victims of fireworks injuries under age 15” per the National Fire Protection Association.  Additionally, fireworks cause approximately 19,500 fires resulting in $100 million in direct property damage. The North Charleston Fire Department wants to share some tips to celebrate July 4th safely.


Start with observing local fireworks laws.

The City of North Charleston fireworks ordinance[1] allows fireworks discharge from 9 am to 11:30 pm throughout the year. Hours are extended for the July 4th  holiday, from 9 am to 1 am on July 5th.

– Discharging fireworks from a vehicle is prohibited

– Discharging fireworks on land without consent is prohibited

– Discharging fireworks towards any structure, animal, or person is prohibited and very dangerous


How to safely use fireworks:

– Identify a “fireworks zone” with markers that is a safe distance away from structures, people, and animals

– Read and follow the directions on each firework

– Always have a responsible adult designated as the “firework lighter”

– Light one firework at a time

– Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks

– Keep a water bucket or hose nearby in case of fire

– Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.


Here are some alternatives for celebrating the Fourth of July:

– Use glow sticks, confetti poppers, or colored streamers instead of sparklers

– Red, white, and blue silly string is fun for all ages

– Outdoor movie night. Set up a screen and projector. Don’t forget the bug spray!

– Make a patriotic craft with the family.

– Make the fourth a birthday party for America – don’t forget the cake!

City of North Charleston Fireworks Ordinance

Sec. 8-3. – Fireworks

  1. Defined. For purposes of this chapter, the term “fireworks” shall mean those items defined as “class C fireworks” and/or as “common fireworks”.
  2. Discharge times. Discharge is generally allowed within the city limits except for the following times and subject to the restrictions below.
    1. Generally allowed throughout the year from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Discharge is prohibited entirely between 11:30 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.
    2. December 31st discharge is allowed until 1:00 a.m. on the morning of January 1st.
    3. July 4th discharge is allowed until 1:00 a.m. on the morning of July 5th.
  3. Discharge restrictions. It shall be unlawful to:
    1. Negligently, recklessly or intentionally direct the discharge of fireworks towards any structure, animal, or person.
    2. Intentionally detonate fireworks upon the land of another without express prior consent;
    3. Offer for sale or to sell permissible fireworks to children under the age of fourteen (14) years unless accompanied by a parent; or
    4. To explode or ignite fireworks within six hundred (600) feet of any church, hospital, asylum or public school;
    5. To ignite or discharge any permissible fireworks within or throw the same from any motor vehicle;
    6. To place or throw any ignited fireworks into or at any motor vehicle.
  4. Authority to seize devices. The fire official shall seize, take, remove, or cause to be removed all stocks of fireworks or explosives held in violation of this section.
  5. Authority of police to impose civil penalty. Any police officer is hereby authorized and empowered to impose a fine in the amount of two hundred dollars ($200.00) for violation of this section.

(Ord. No. 2001-22, 5-10-01; Ord. No. 2016-035, 9-8-2016)