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June 26, 2013
 

Chandler Fire Department reminds residents of the City’s rules covering the sale, purchase and use of fireworks

With Independence Day approaching, the Chandler Fire Department is reminding residents that while some types of fireworks are legal to sell and purchase at local businesses, they can be extremely dangerous and their use is restricted within Chandler’s City limits.

The use and misuse of fireworks can lead to personal injury, injury to others, harm to pets, property damage, and destruction of the environment. Within the City, there are many potential sources of combustion, such as dry brush, palm trees, wood fences, and others. Once a fire starts it can easily extend into a nearby structure. In addition, the high heat and windy conditions in recent weeks have added to extremely dry conditions throughout the State. Local officials are also concerned about fireworks being purchased locally and then used in forest or wild land areas.

Because of the danger fireworks pose, the Chandler Fire Department urges the public to make the smart choice to enjoy one of the many local fireworks displays conducted by trained professionals – like the City's 4th of July Celebration at Tumbleweed Park – and to avoid the illegal use of consumer and display fireworks. 

“There are basically three types of fireworks that we deal with in Chandler; Display fireworks, Consumer fireworks, and Novelty fireworks,” said Assistant Fire Chief Marc Walker, who also serves as the City’s fire marshal. “It’s important for vendors and consumers to know the different rules for each type, and the rules can vary city by city.”

According to Chief Walker, Display fireworks shoot into or through the air and may also detonate. These include the aerial devices that you typically see at large public July 4th events. They are not legal to sell to consumers, and are not legal for use at any time in Chandler without a special event permit. Similar fireworks, including those that contain a higher percentage of black powder, such as M-80's, Blackcats, firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets, etc., are also illegal.

Consumer fireworks do not go into the air, or explode. Some types of consumer fireworks are now legal in Arizona to sell to people age 16 and older; however, cities can restrict their use. At retail locations, these fireworks must be marked with either "Consumer Fireworks" or "1.4 G Fireworks" labels, and they include ground-based and spinning sparkling devices. Although the sale of consumer fireworks is legal in Chandler, the use is prohibited within City limits.

The popular Novelty fireworks are not regulated, and can be sold and used in Chandler. These must be labeled as “Novelty Fireworks” and include small sparklers, smoke devices, snakes, party poppers, and other types. It’s important to note that even the common “sparkler” burns at a very high temperature and can cause severe burns if mishandled. 

If Chandler residents see fireworks being sold or used inappropriately, they can report the violations to the non-emergency phone number of the Chandler Police Department at 782-4130. The Police Department can issue citations that could include a fine amount that would be determined by a judge.

Chandler currently does not have a fireworks ordinance. Instead, the City operates under the rules and regulations of the International Fire Code (IFC) (2012 version) and uses the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) code 1124 as its primary enforcement tool in the regulation of fireworks in the City limits. 

Fireworks sales are allowed in certain types of retail locations, including temporary tents or structures. Chandler Fire Prevention Specialists work with these local businesses to ensure that their fireworks are displayed in the proper manner and don’t exceed allowable limits. They also ask these vendors to voluntarily post signs informing the public that the use of fireworks is prohibited in the City limits.

Additional information on firework rules and safety tips is available online at www.chandleraz.gov/fire.