47ºF

Michigan fireworks laws: What’s legal, how to stay safe

A look at what not to do

Fireworks
Fireworks (Pixabay)

DETROIT – This article first appeared in the Morning Report Newsletter. Sign up for it here!


With the Fourth of July this weekend, and many missing annual displays due to COVID-19, the household firework market is booming -- and lighting up your sky.

Michigan passed new fireworks laws a few years back -- so let’s just brush up on what you need to know from LARA:

Michiganders who plan on setting off fireworks need to make sure they know which days are legal to do so in their local community. Michigan’s Fireworks Safety Act of 2011 (Public Act 256) was amended in December 2018, giving local government entities – villages, townships, and cities – the right to restrict the days and times for their residents to use consumer fireworks by enacting a local ordinance.

Even if a local government chooses to restrict fireworks in their municipality by passing a local ordinance, state law requires that fireworks must be allowed on the following days, after 11:00 a.m.:

  • December 31 until 1:00 a.m. on January 1
  • The Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day, until 11:45 p.m.
  • June 29 to July 4, until 11:45 p.m.
  • July 5, if it falls on a Friday or Saturday, until 11:45 p.m.
  • The Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day, until 11:45 p.m.

In Michigan, consumer fireworks must meet Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards. Licensed facilities will only sell fireworks to people 18 years of age or older. Low impact fireworks (ground-based items such as sparklers, toy snakes, snaps, and poppers) are also legal for sale and use

State law requires that consumer-grade fireworks only be ignited from personal property. It is illegal to ignite fireworks on public property (including streets and sidewalks), school property, church property, or another person’s property without their express permission. State law makes it illegal to discharge fireworks when intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

When fire-related incidents involve consumer, low impact, or illegal fireworks resulting in property damage, injury or death of another person, individuals are subject to a misdemeanor or felony punishable by imprisonment of not more than five years and fines of up to $10,000 or both.

Consumers should always buy from state-certified fireworks retailers – whether in a permanent building or a tent – and should consider these important safety tips to protect lives and property:

ALWAYS:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Have an adult supervise fireworks activities, including sparklers.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then immediately back away to a safe distance.
  • Keep people and pets out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Light fireworks outdoors on a driveway or other paved surface at least 25 feet away from houses and highly flammable materials such as dry grass or mulch.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Douse spent fireworks in a bucket of water before discarding them.

NEVER:

  • Buy fireworks packaged in brown paper or use unlabeled fireworks – they are for professional use only.
  • Experiment with or make your own fireworks.
  • Allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Try to re-light “duds” or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. (Rather, wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.)
  • Point or throw fireworks at other people.
  • Carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

Sparklers should not be considered harmless for kids. A significant number of young children are injured by being poked with sparkler wires and are badly burned by sparklers each year, per the CPSC.

More than 50 percent of sparkler-related injuries happen to kids under age 14 across the country. Sparklers can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and have the potential to cause significant burn injuries. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing and can cause grass fires if thrown on the ground. Always keep a bucket of water close by to dispose of used sparklers promptly.

Here’s a handy guide on what’s legal and what’s not:

Legal and illegal fireworks in Michigan.
Legal and illegal fireworks in Michigan. (LARA)

About the Author: