New Year’s Eve is upon us once again and it’s time to celebrate! One of the usual trappings of a true New Year’s celebration is fireworks. We take a “pass” on the fireworks at our place because of the large number of pets and livestock that don’t enjoy the loud and colorful explosions as much as most humans.
Texas is one of the most liberal states when it comes to fireworks in general, but I want you to have some important notes to consider as you plan your New Year’s fiesta. The commentary below is NOT an exclusive guide to the use of fireworks, but some of the points that could likely be important to the safety of you and your family.
- In most cities, it is illegal to shoot fireworks within the city limits. Furthermore, in some cities it is even illegal to possess them. Penalties can include hefty fines.
- Check with your local Fire Marshal’s Office. The Bexar County (San Antonio) Fire Marshal has just released a handy tip sheet –>HERE<–.
- The Bexar County Public Safety Communications Center will operate a fireworks hotline from Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 through Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Residents in unincorporated Bexar County who see unsafe or illegal uses of fireworks should call 210-335-FIRE.
- Be mindful that just because you are in an unincorporated areas where fireworks are legal, it’s not “all bets are off” regarding fireworks. Only shoot off fireworks if you own the property or have written permission from a property owner. Counties may have instituted a “burn ban” and the entire county may be off limits to fireworks.
- If your fireworks start a fire that causes damage you could be in trouble. If the fire was intentionally started with fireworks, you could be charged with arson. In the case of an accidental fire, fines can be levied. Either way, you could potentially be held civilly liable for the damages.
- Basic safety information courtesy of Bexar County, Fire Marshal Chris Lopez:
- Shooting fireworks within 100 feet of a place where flammable liquids, flammable compressed gasses or fireworks are sold or stored is ILLEGAL!
- Shooting fireworks within 600 feet of a church, hospital, day-care center or school is ILLEGAL.
- Only use fireworks outdoors. Select an area free of dry grasses and other dead vegetation.
- Keep a bucket of water or a water hose nearby to extinguish a fire should one start.
- Do not use fireworks when the weather forecast calls for winds above 10 mph.
- Always read and follow manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions.
- Have an adult present and never give fireworks to children.
- Never experiment or make your own fireworks. Make sure you only use fireworks purchased from a reliable licensed seller.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never re-light a “dud” firework. If a firework does not work properly, wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water and dispose of it properly.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Do not shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- Wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
Matthew Myers, Attorney at Law, PLLC wants you and your friends and family to have a wonderful and SAFE New Year’s Eve celebration. And to make you feel less awkward at midnight, bookmark this page on your mobile device so you’ll have the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne.
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.
On old long syne my Jo,
On old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On old long syne.