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As the Fourth of July approaches, street-side vendors set up tents and sell a display of fireworks purchased by Americans for the holiday festivities. Fireworks are fun for the whole family, but have high risk and should be used with precaution. Do you know the firework laws where you will be celebrating Independence Day? Be safe this Fourth of July by knowing which fireworks are legal and where they are legal to use in your hometown or vacation destination.

Kentucky Firework Law

Because fireworks are legal to sell for consumer use in the United States, they can be shipped throughout the country. Each state has unique firework laws, and it is important to know the rules to stay legal this Fourth of July.

It is important to know that individuals under the age of 18 are not allowed to purchase fireworks. If someone under the age of 18 uses or wishes to purchase fireworks, he or she must be supervised by a parent or guardian. Individuals under the age of 18 are prohibited from using fireworks considered aerial devices or audible ground devices. If an person of any age is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she is prohibited from selling or buying fireworks.

For safety reasons, particular fireworks are not allowed to be used within 200 feet of any structure, motor vehicle, or another person. To put this in perspective, you must be able to light a firework and run 66 yards, or two-thirds of a football field, before the firework goes off.

If you are found lighting fireworks within city limits, you could receive a citation.

Paducah Firework Law

When purchasing fireworks, make sure the dealer is properly licensed. Paducah’s laws resemble Kentucky’s fireworks laws. An individual must be 18 years old to purchase or sell fireworks unless he or she is supervised by a parent or guardian, and fireworks cannot be used within 200 feet of any structure, vehicle, or individual.

The city of Paducah allows group and handheld sparkling fireworks to be used, but several types of fireworks are permitted due to safety reasons.

To determine the space needed to use fireworks safely, the Paducah Fire Department worked with Geographic Information System (G.I.S.) to determine the safe perimeter for fireworks. They plotted a 200-foot radius around every building in Paducah and developed a map to display the proximity of homes and buildings. The map determined that there is such a small proximity between homes and buildings within city limits, that fireworks must have at least a 200-foot radius to be safely used.

Permitted and Prohibited Fireworks in Kentucky

The following fireworks are prohibited and can be purchased with a permit only:

  • bottle rockets
  • skyrockets
  • roman candles
  • firecrackers
  • missiles
  • parachutes
  • sky flyers
  • display shells
  • aerial items (cakes)

The following fireworks are permitted:

  • sparklers
  • smoke and punk
  • fountains
  • novelties
  • crack and strobe
  • wheels and spinners

Always ask your city or county about firework laws in your area as many restrict the use of fireworks.

Firework Safety Tips from the Bryant Law Center

  1. Only purchase fireworks from a licensed retailer. It is important to purchase new fireworks each season and never use outdated fireworks.
  2. When lighting fireworks, wear eye protection and protect your ears with earplugs. Do not wear loose fitting clothing and tie back long hair. Make sure the area you are lighting fireworks is not dry and easily flammable.
  3. Light one firework at a time and if a firework malfunctions, do not light it.
  4. Always supervise young children and make sure they are a safe distance away from fireworks.
  5. Never point fireworks at another person and do not carry fireworks in your pocket.

After using fireworks, soak them in water and leave in a trash can away from anything flammable. Always keep water nearby when using fireworks in the case of an accident.

By understanding the firework laws, whether in your hometown or a vacation spot, you can stay safe and legal to celebrate with friends and family this Independence Day.