When it comes to fireworks, everything is legal again in New Hampshire

  • Brendan Perault (left) and Tony Roberts restock the Pigskin fireworks at Champny’€™s Fireworks on Route 3 in Bow on Friday. The pair were restocking the store after several successful days ahead of the Fourth of July. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Champny’s Fireworks employees Tony Roberts (left) and Brendan Perault ask co-owners Christiana and Deborah Colby what was in the works for lunch at the store on Friday, June 29, 2018. “I always keep them well fed,” Colby quipped as the lunch hour approached. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Deborah Colby, co-owner of Champny’s Fireworks in Bow, points to a package of fireworks called Jumbo M-5000 after a customer asked if she had any M-80’s which are illegal whereas the M-5000 is legal. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Deborah Colby, co-owner of Champny’€™s Fireworks in Bow, points out the Jumbo Firecrackers to customers Friday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Deborah Colby and her daughter Christiana, co-owners of Champny’s Fireworks on Route 3A in Bow. Colby explained that anyone who wants to buy a rocket must also purchase a launch tube. The one-time purchase of the tube was a requirement to get rockets legalized again. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Tony Roberts of Champny’s Fireworks unpacks the Truckin Home 119-shot fireworks package as helps re-stock the store on Friday, June 29, 2018. The fireworks shoots flaming balls into the air and it was on sale for $99 and they were having trouble keeping them in stock. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Deborah Colby, co-owner of Champny’s Fireworks in Bow, points to a package of fireworks called Jumbo M-5000 after a customer asked if she had any M-80’s which are illegal whereas the M-5000 is legal here. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/29/2018 5:11:48 PM

With Fourth of July just around the corner, New Hampshire residents have every possible pyrotechnic option to choose from for entertainment, which has fire safety officials warning that it just means more ways to get hurt.

This year it’s legal to buy smoke devices, firecrackers, bottle rockets and reloadable mortars, all of which were once illegal in New Hampshire.

“Reloadable mortars were made legal by the state legislature in early 2011. Firecrackers and smoke devices were made legal by the state legislature last year. And then bottle rockets and sky rockets were made legal about a month ago,” said Chris Wyman, an investigator for the state’s fire marshal office.

Fireworks stores in the area are heavily advertising types of fireworks that are now available for purchase.

“ROCKETS ARE NOW LEGAL IN NH!!” reads an banner on Sparks Fly Fireworks’ website in Chichester. “FIRECRACKERS ARE NOW LEGAL IN NH!!”

At Champny’s Fireworks on Route 3A in Bow, owner Deborah Colby explained that anyone who wants to buy a rocket must also purchase a launch tube. The one-time purchase of the tube was a requirement to get rockets legalized again.

“All consumer fireworks that are legal in the United States are legal now in New Hampshire,” Colby said.

The fire marshal’s office has always maintained that fireworks are dangerous for the public to use and has opposed looser restrictions in the state. The safest way to experience the thrill is to watch a professional show, the office urges.

“You are playing with an explosive device that can be very dangerous when used inappropriately or even when used correctly and they malfunction,” Wyman said. “They can cause burn injuries, they can cause traumatic injuries, they can cause life-altering injuries and they can even kill you.

“Since these devices have been made legal, we do see a number of incidents and injuries,” Wyman said.

Nationally, Wyman said firecrackers, bottle rockets and reloadable mortars consistently top the charts with the most recorded injuries compared to other types of fireworks. In New Hampshire, each year is different, Wyman said, and while they do see injuries caused from the big three offenders, there is no real pattern to the injuries.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 12,900 fireworks related injuries in 2017, with the majority – 8,700 injuries – solely between June and July 16 last year. There were also eight deaths resulting from consumer grade fireworks accidents last year.

New Hampshire law requires residents to be at least 21 years old to buy fireworks, which must be used on the owner’s property or with a landlord’s written permission, and within any local fireworks restrictions.

State law allows towns to set their own restrictions and a list of these towns is available on the division of fire safety’s website.

The division of fire safety has also published a fireworks safety brochure and encourages the public to read it before launching fireworks. Granite Staters are also encouraged to reach out to their local fire department for more information on fireworks requirements in their town and to inquire about professional shows for the July Fourth holiday.

(Jacob Dawson can be reached at 272-6414 ext. 8325, jdawson@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @jaked156.)


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