Have a safe Fourth of July with these fireworks rules, safety tips

Less than 24 hours after going on sale, firecrackers on Oahu have sold out.

While the demand jumped from last year to this year, the supply remained extremely limited.

According to the Honolulu Fire Department, 236 people bought firecracker permits for the upcoming holiday, which is the highest number in at least the last four years.

But only one retailer on Oahu was licensed to sell firecrackers: Bo Wah Trading Company in Chinatown. When we stopped by at around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, they had already sold out.

That’s $25 down the drain for anyone who bought a permit but didn’t get to buy firecrackers. Permits are only good for the Fourth of July, and cannot be used for New Year’s Eve.

Firecrackers may be set off on July 4, between 1 and 9 p.m.

Prefer to leave the fireworks to the professionals? Here’s a list of aerial fireworks shows taking place across the state.

On Maui, fireworks sales also began Thursday, June 29. The sales period ends Tuesday, July 4, at 8 p.m.

A fireworks permit is not required for consumer fireworks such as sparklers, snakes, and cylindrical or cone fountains which emit effects not higher than 12 feet off the ground. However, a fireworks permit is required for the use of fire crackers.

  • Each permit costs $25 payable by check/money order to the County of Maui. Cash will be accepted at the Fire Prevention Bureau.
  • Each permit allows a purchase of up to 5,000 pieces of firecrackers.
  • There is no limit to the number of permits issued to each person.
  • Permit applicants must be 18 years or older and show proof of age at the time of permit processing.

Permits will be available from June 29 thru July 4, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Central Maui Fire Prevention Bureau, 313 Manea Place, Waikapu, in the Consolidated Baseyard

A limited number of fireworks permits will be available at the following locations:

  • Kahului: Phantom Fireworks, front parking lot of Queen Kaahumanu Center, 275 West Kaahumanu Avenue
  • Kihei: Phantom Fireworks, Piilani Village Shopping Center, 291 Piikea Ave., Unit 121

Fireworks can only be legally set off from 1 to 9 p.m. on July 4. Setting off fireworks outside designated times is punishable by law. Violations are subject to fines of up to $2,000.

Aerial fireworks are illegal and extremely dangerous. The import, transfer, sale, or use of aerial fireworks without a permit is a Class C Felony.

General fireworks prohibitions

It is unlawful for any person to:

  • Throw ignited fireworks at a person or an animal.
  • Throw ignited fireworks from above the first floor of any building.
  • Throw ignited fireworks from, at, or into a vehicle.
  • Set off fireworks on public ways, in parks, cane fields, or places of worship.
  • Set off fireworks on public beaches or in forest or wildlife reserves.
  • Set off fireworks in school buildings or on school grounds.
  • Set off fireworks within 1,000 feet of hospitals, health and elderly care facilities, and facilities for animal care, including the zoo.
  • Set off fireworks within 500 feet from a hotel.
  • Offer for sale, sell, or give any fireworks to minors. Honolulu’s fireworks ordinance makes it illegal for minors to use firecrackers in Honolulu, even with adult supervision.
  • Possess or use aerial fireworks, unless the Fire Chief issues a display permit per Chapter 132D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS).
  • Transport fireworks in carry-on or checked luggage, airline cargo, or mail.
  • Remove or extract pyrotechnic contents.

Fireworks safety tips

  • Only use approved fireworks from a licensed retail outlet that posts its retail license.
  • Always read and follow the warnings and instructions listed by the manufacturer to ensure the safe handling and use of fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at a person, building, or animal.
  • Never ignite fireworks indoors. Ensure your outdoor area is safe for fireworks use.
  • Fireworks should only be lighted on a smooth, flat surface away from buildings, dry vegetation, and flammable materials.
  • Do not string fireworks on utility poles.
  • Keep any type of ladder, pole, or tie lines used to set up fireworks at least ten feet from power lines.
  • Never ignite fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Have a garden hose or a bucket of water available in the event of a fire.
  • Fireworks must not be used by persons under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Always wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
  • When igniting fireworks, never position any part of your body over them.
  • Never attempt to reignite malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Never experiment with homemade fireworks, as they are dangerous and illegal.

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