Kosciusko County residents urged to use fireworks safely and respectfully

("Epic Fireworks - Quality 1.3g Consumer Rockets" by Epic Fireworks, CC BY 2.0 )

Fireworks are one of the most recognized Independence Day traditions, but its important to make sure your firework usage is both legal and safe.

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office wants to make sure those using them are doing so safely.

“First and foremost, we’re encouraging everyone to have fun, but be careful with it,” explains Public Information Officer Chris Francis. “This is our American holiday, it’s very unique to us, we can get out and enjoy our cookouts and the lakes.”

Francis says its important to be respectful when lighting off fireworks.

“We need to be mindful of our veterans and those with special needs. Also, with pets. And respect the boundaries of private property,” he says.

Kosciusko County residents should be aware of the following laws pertaining to fireworks:

  1. AGE RESTRICTIONS– You have to be 18+ to buy fireworks. If someone under 18 is using or possessing fireworks, someone 18+ needs to be present. Anyone under the age of 18 possessing or using fireworks without the presence of an adult could face a fine of $500 per infraction. Children using fireworks should be monitored closely by an adult to avoid severe burns to the hands and arms as well as other injuries due to improper handling of sparklers, bottle rockets, and firecrackers.
  2. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION– You can only use fireworks on your property, the property of someone who gave you permission to discharge fireworks, or a place designated by the Indiana State Fire Marshal as such. Someone using fireworks at any location other than the 3 previously listed could face a maximum fine of $500 per infraction. Damaging someone else’s property with fireworks could result in a fine of $5,000 as well as 1 year imprisonment.
  3. TIMING IS EVERYTHING– On the Fourth of July, consumer fireworks can be used between 9 a.m. and midnight. On June 29-30 and July 1-3 and 5-9, fireworks can be discharged until two hours past sunset. Most other days that are not holidays, consumer fireworks can be used only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.

If you’re unsure if your plans are legal and safe, you can learn more from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.