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Falls Adopts Fireworks Ordinance Mirroring State Regulations

With an eye on protecting the public’s safety, the Falls Township Supervisors adopted an ordinance to set guidelines for the use of fireworks.

Under the local law, which mirrors the state law enacted in 2017, Falls Township residents interested in setting off fireworks to mark Independence Day may be permitted to do so, provided that guidelines are met.

Smaller fireworks, or so-called consumer fireworks, including Roman candles, bottle rockets and other aerial fireworks, are permitted by individuals 18 years and older. Fireworks can not be set off within 150 feet of any structure that has a valid use and occupancy permit.

“It doesn’t mean ‘well, my neighbor’s not home, so it’s not occupied,’” Supervisors Chairman Bob Harvie said.

Harvie said the Supervisors opted to adopt the ordinance now because the township has already received fireworks complaints stemming from the Memorial Day holiday.

“It’s a safety concern,” he said. “It’s not about not having fun or trying to interfere with people’s good times.”

Particularly with houses being situated closer together, the risk for fire is greater. Novelty fireworks caught a house on fire last year and caused it to burn down, Supervisor Vice Chairman Jeff Dence said.

“It doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous,” Dence said. “It means, use common sense.”

The ordinance prohibits the discharge of fireworks in, near or toward a vehicle. Fireworks should not be set off by anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Each violation of the local ordinance incurs a $100 fine.

“If someone shoots off six fireworks on someone’s street that’s $600,” Harvie said. “(The fine is for) every single thing you shoot off.”

Larger fireworks displays are allowed only by permit from the fire marshal.

Citing the township’s noise ordinance, Harvie said fireworks are permitted until 10 p.m. on weekdays or 11 p.m. on weekends.

Before setting off fireworks in a field or other vacant property, Harvie noted that permission from the property owner is a must.

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