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Indiana fireworks laws you need to know before July 4, 2024

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Fireworks are fun. Spending time in the emergency room? Not so much.

Before you light that first sparkler, there are a few things you should know about fireworks in Indiana: the laws that apply to you and the penalties you could face (we’re talking felonies here) if you handle them incorrectly. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, sparkler-related injuries will cost 600 people a trip to the emergency room in 2022 alone.

Every year, thousands are injured by fireworks in the run-up to the 4th of July. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when using them in the Hoosier State.

What are the rules for fireworks in Indiana?

  • To purchase fireworks in Indiana you must be an adult, 18 years or older.
  • Adults 18 years or older must be present when children are using or possessing fireworks.
  • You may use fireworks only on your own property, on the property of someone who has given you permission to use fireworks, or in a place designated by the Indiana State Fire Marshal for the discharge of consumer fireworks.
  • Fireworks are permitted between 9:00 AM and 11:00 PM every day except Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and New Year’s Eve, unless a local ordinance states otherwise.

What is the fireworks curfew in Indiana?

The times on the following dates are protected in Indiana for consumer use of fireworks and may not be prohibited by local ordinances:

  • June 29 – July 3: from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset
  • July 4th: from 10am to midnight
  • July 5-9: from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset
  • December 31: from 10am to 1am

Which fireworks are illegal in Indiana?

Indiana recognizes two primary types of fireworks: consumer fireworks and display fireworks. You can find small consumer brands (1.4g fireworks) commonly sold in stores in Indiana. Display fireworks (1.3g, which are considered more dangerous) are illegal in Indiana without state and federal permits. If you plan to purchase fireworks to celebrate the 4th of July, purchase from a reputable dealer.

Look for these warning signs when purchasing fireworks. They may be illegal if:

  • The fireworks come in brown paper packaging instead of cellophane.
  • The boxes have no pictures or markings.
  • The fireworks are sold in a non-commercial location, such as a vehicle or home.
  • The seller has no proof of a receipt or commercial packaging.
  • The seller cannot say where the fireworks were originally purchased.

If you notice any of these warning signs, don’t buy fireworks. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security recommends that you report the seller to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) at 1-888-283-2662.

Are cherry bombs illegal?

Yes, cherry bombs – round, red explosives with a diameter of one inch and containing more than 50 mg of powder – have been illegal in the US since 1966. Other illegal fireworks that must be reported to police include M-80s, M-100s or silver salutes, M-250s, M-1000s or quarter sticks.

What is the penalty for fireworks misuse in Indiana?

According to the Indiana State Police, those who violate Indiana fireworks laws can be charged with a Class “C” misdemeanor. However, if someone recklessly, knowingly uses fireworks that damage property, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties become more severe if someone is injured or killed.

Here are five things you need to know.

  1. Anyone under the age of 18 who uses fireworks when no adult is present is subject to a class C misdemeanor, which can result in a fine of up to $500 per citation.
  2. Illegal use of fireworks in an unapproved location carries a fine of up to $500 per citation. Multiple charges within a five-year period result in a class C misdemeanor, with a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.
  3. Damaging someone else’s property with fireworks is a class A misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year in prison.
  4. Causing personal injury to another person with fireworks is a Level 6 misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and six months to 2 1/2 years in prison with a one-year advisory sentence.
  5. A fatal fireworks accident is considered a Level 5 felony and can result in a maximum fine of $10,000 and a prison sentence of one to six years with a three-year advisory sentence.

These laws obviously exist because people have been seriously injured by careless use of fireworks.

How many people go to the hospital because of fireworks?

Fireworks are beautiful to look at, but can be deadly if misused.

According to the CPSC, more than 10,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in hospital emergency rooms across the country in 2022, killing 11 people. About 73% of these injuries occurred during the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday.

According to previous data from the CPSC, children ages 5 to 9 are estimated to be the second most likely to go to the emergency room. Overall, burns to hands and fingers were the most common type of injury treated.

Image courtesy of CPSC.

How to stay safe around fireworks

  • Never smoke or drink alcohol when lighting fireworks.
  • Be extremely careful when lighting fireworks in the wind. Keep spectators away from where the wind is blowing to avoid smoke and possible debris.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over fireworks and never hold fireworks in your hand while lighting them.
  • Stay away from others who are lighting fireworks. They can backfire or go in the wrong direction.
  • Do not allow children to light or play with fireworks.
  • Parents should always supervise children when handling sparklers, which can burn up to 1,800 degrees or hotter.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place, out of the reach of children.
  • Never point fireworks at anyone else.
  • Do not attempt to create or modify fireworks or fireworks items.
  • Make sure you always have a fire extinguisher or water supply, such as a hose or bucket of water, on hand.
  • Only light one firework at a time.
  • For ground-based devices, such as fountains, the perimeter should be 35 feet, according to Homeland Security.
  • For antenna devices this must be 50 meters. Fireworks that do not go off when you light them can still explode.
  • Never attempt to re-light or repair fireworks. Let duds sit for five to 10 minutes before picking them up and dunking them in water.
  • After fireworks burn off, extinguish them with plenty of water before throwing them away to avoid causing a garbage fire.

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John Tufts covers trending news for the Indianapolis Star. Send him a news tip at [email protected]