Grilled food, fresh watermelon and fireworks are tied just as closely to the Fourth of July as the red, white and blue colors of the American flag. However, fireworks have also been linked to dangerous fires and serious accidents. Virginia law enforcement officials and lawmakers take the responsibility of protecting Virginians seriously.
Although the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays across the nation for fatal injuries and DUI deaths, the death rate for the holiday has decreased in Virginia and was lower than it has been in decades in 2015. To help keep residents of Harrisonburg safe at home as well, local safety agencies and law enforcement officials want residents to know local laws about fireworks.
Fireworks Are Illegal In Harrisonburg, VA
Local officials made it illegal to use, sell and buy fireworks in Harrisonburg. Many residents are confused because of the presence of firework merchants in nearby towns or just outside of the city. While it is legal for most of these merchants to sell fireworks outside of Harrisonburg, residents cannot bring them into town and use them.
As the Fourth of July approaches, the city's fire marshals will be patrolling the city to watch for illegal fireworks. If they catch anyone using them whether they know about the city's law or not, they may face a misdemeanor charge for the offense. Also, the offense is charged as a Class 1 offense, which is the most serious of misdemeanors in Virginia. If convicted, offenders face a fine, jail time or both. Jail sentences may be up to a year, and fines may be as high as $2,500.
July Fourth Safety Tips
City officials want Harrisonburg residents to understand that these laws are for the safety of the entire community, and they still want everyone to have an enjoyable holiday. These are some helpful safety tips for Harrisonburg residents:
- For outdoor festivities in the sun, be sure to drink plenty of water and less alcohol.
- Bring an EpiPen for anyone with severe food or bee allergies.
- If someone is using fireworks illegally, call the police or fire department.
- Be mindful of leaving perishable food out during a picnic or gathering.
- Follow standard safety procedures for using outdoor grills and fire pits.
- Do not leave food unattended on the stove in the kitchen.
- For pool parties, be sure to supervise children at all times.
- If guests come over, keep any firearms locked in a secure place.
- Keep pools, trampolines and spas covered if they are not in use when guests visit.
For those who love fireworks, there are still great displays in designated locations and on television. Watching them on television also eliminates other negative factors such as mosquitoes and heat.
It is easy to get busy and overlook safety precautions while making plans. If everyone looks out for one another, all Harrisonburg residents can enjoy a fun and safe Fourth of July.