Fireworks Safety in Michigan: New State Law and Local Ordinance

 
Family watching fireworks

Did you know Michigan’s Fireworks Safety Act of 2011 (Public Act 256) was updated in December of 2018?

Not only did it give local villages, cities, and townships the right to restrict firework use throughout the state, but it gave Michigan residents the right to set off fireworks on several days of the year no matter what local ordinance is in place.

Public Act 256 also makes setting off fireworks against local law punishable by a $1,000 fine.

Do you want to know if it’s legal to set off fireworks over the 4th of July holiday? Start by checking with your city, village, or township to see if it has set restrictions for firework usage.

State Law Vs. Local Ordinance

If your city or village has not set rules for fireworks, your rules follow Michigan state law. State law gives citizens the right to set off fireworks on any day of the year. Here are some other things about fireworks that are regulated by the Fireworks Safety Act of 2011:

  • Gives local government entities the right to restrict days and times for residents to set off fireworks.
  • Requires fireworks to be allowed after 11:00 a.m. on these days every year
  • December 31 until 1:00 a.m. January 1
  • Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day until 11:45 p.m.
  • June 29 – July 4, and July 5 if it falls on a Friday or Saturday, until 11:45 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day, until 11: 45 p.m.
  • Makes violations of the local ordinance punishable by a $1,000 civil fine.
  • Establishes a Consumer Product Safety Commission to set a safety standard consumer fireworks must meet.
  • Makes it illegal to sell fireworks to people under 18
  • Makes it illegal to ignite consumer fireworks from public property, including streets and sidewalks, from school property, church property, or someone else’s property without their express permission.
  • Allows the Bureau of Fire Services to issue citations to non-compliant sellers or those who are not state-certified fireworks retailers.
  • Makes it illegal to set off fireworks while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
  • Makes it a misdemeanor or felony to cause property damage, injury or death of another person through the use of consumer, low-impact, or illegal fireworks. The crime could result in a fine up to $10,000 and five years in prison.

Important Note About Sparklers

Sparklers are one of the most enduring 4th of July activities for kids. However, they should not be considered harmless.

  • They have the potential to reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and cause significant burns and harm.
  • In addition, they can cause clothing and dry grass to catch fire.

A substantial number of children are injured by sparklers every year.

Implications of Michigan’s Firework Law

While we can’t foresee every situation in which you could end up paying a fine or even doing jail time for misusing consumer fireworks, here are a few types of situations you should avoid to be safe:

  • Don’t set off fireworks before checking your local ordinance and making sure you have enough room on your own property to safely set them off and remain at a safe distance. You should make sure children and pets are out of range, and fireworks are at least 25 feet away from your house or anything flammable.
  • Don’t continue lighting fireworks late into the night. Even on legal days, your city ordinance may crack down on fireworks that are set off too late. If your neighbors call the police, and you are found to be drinking a beer at the same time, you could get in trouble.
  • Do not drink or use drugs if you intend to set off fireworks. It should go without saying that these two activities don’t mix, but you can also get into more trouble than you bargained for even by having a casual drink while lighting fireworks.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Don’t set off fireworks from metal or glass containers, don’t carry them in your pocket, don’t try to re-light “duds,” don’t point them at other people, don’t make your own fireworks or use unlabeled fireworks meant for professional use. Do not place any part of your body over the firework while lighting the fuse.
  • Don’t allow young children to light or use fireworks. Not only are these things dangerous, but this type of behavior is much more likely to injure or kill someone, resulting in tragedy and criminal prosecution for you. Always be on the safe side!
  • Have buckets of water or a garden hose handy.

Takeaway

Michigan state law is generous about allowing fireworks use on special days to every citizen no matter what the local ordinance says.

Misuse of this right is a good way to end up paying a hefty fine or even spending time in jail for a preventable situation.

Be extra careful with fireworks this weekend! And if you are facing charges related to illegal fireworks use, please call my office for help.

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