Macomb Township officials offer reminders on fireworks safety

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 28, 2019

 Macomb Township Fire Chief Robert Phillips said the best fireworks advice he can give is to leave fireworks to the professionals. Once a firework is lit, he said to treat it as if it could explode at any time.

Macomb Township Fire Chief Robert Phillips said the best fireworks advice he can give is to leave fireworks to the professionals. Once a firework is lit, he said to treat it as if it could explode at any time.

File photo by Sean Work

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Summertime and fireworks go hand-in-hand, and with the Fourth of July upon us, it’s time for a review of fireworks safety.

In 2013, the Macomb Township Board of Trustees unanimously adopted an amendment to its current fireworks ordinance.

Section 11 of Macomb Township Code of Ordinances states that consumer fireworks means firework devices that are designed to produce visible effects by combustion, that are required to comply with the construction, chemical composition and labeling regulations promulgated by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Consumer fireworks does not include low-impact fireworks.

“Low-impact fireworks means ground and hand-held sparking devices,” the ordinance states.

“The biggest advice we give is to leave fireworks to the professionals,” Macomb Township Fire Chief Robert Phillips said. ”Follow warning labels and keep children away.”

Once a firework is lit, Phillips said to treat it as if it could explode at any time.

“The biggest issue we have is that everything that goes up, must come down,” he said. “There’s no control as to where they’re going to come down. We’ve had issues with roofs and yards on fire because they drifted.”

In December 2018, former Gov. Rick Snyder approved a package of bills aimed at giving more local communities more control to regulate the use and sale of fireworks. The package included House Bill 5940, HB 5939 and HB 5941.

Under the bill package, local officials could restrict the use of consumer-grade fireworks from the currently allowed 30 days a year to about 12 days a year, although several other changes to fireworks-related laws were also included.

However, the bill states that local governments cannot regulate consumer fireworks on dates including June 29 to July 4 until 11:45 p.m.; July 5, like this year, if it’s a Friday or Saturday, until 11:45 p.m.; and the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Labor Day until 11:45 p.m.

In 2011, Snyder signed the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act to allow the sale and use of consumer fireworks between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight on the day before, the day of and the day after national holidays, such as the Fourth of July.

According to the National Fire Protection Association Research, Data and Analytics Division, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires cause an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $43 million in direct property damage.

Since the 2011 act, Phillips said fireworks usage has increased in Macomb Township.

The fireworks safety act states that fireworks cannot be used within 50 feet of a flame or a flammable surface; within 20 feet of a property line; within any public roadway or public right of way; within, upon or from a motor vehicle; and at any person, vehicle or any other source of transportation.

Macomb Township’s fireworks ordinance states that no person shall ignite or discharge any consumer-grade fireworks on the day before, the day of or the day after a national holiday between midnight and 8 a.m., or between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

To view the ordinance, visit www.macomb-mi.gov/194/Fire-Department.

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