With the holiday weekend upon us, the Ocean City Fire Department would like to remind the residents and visitors of the dangers involved with consumer fireworks. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that fireworks cause an estimated 20,000 fires annually. In 2014, fireworks were responsible for approximately 10,500 people treated with injuries and an estimated $32 million in direct property damage.
“On Independence Day fireworks account for two out of five of all reported fires, which is more than any other cause of fire,” said Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley. “In addition to causing damage, fireworks can cause injuries and we want people to be safe during their holiday stay in Ocean City. The safety and wellbeing of all residents and visitors of the Town of Ocean City is the primary goal of the Ocean City Fire Department.”
Although the State of Maryland has approved the use of ground-based sparkling devices such as cylindrical and cone fountains, these are not legal to use or possess in Ocean City. All other fireworks that may be sold in neighboring states are not legal for use by the general public anywhere in Maryland. State law also prohibits the shipping or transportation of fireworks into the Maryland if they are to be possessed, used, sold, or distributed by citizens of Maryland. Illegal fireworks found are subject to seizure by law enforcement authorities, and persons found in possession of illegal fireworks with the intent to use them run the risk of both criminal charges and the confiscation of the fireworks. Fines for possession of illegal fireworks may be as much as $250, and those found selling or distributing illegal fireworks may be fined as much as $1000.
Within the Town of Ocean City, products such as handheld Gold labeled sparklers, “Snap-N-Pops”, “Black Cobra Snakes”, and “Party Poppers” are allowed to be used and possessed without a license. However, injuries and property damage may still occur from these types of products, so parental supervision is always encouraged.
Anyone with questions pertaining to fireworks should contact the Ocean City Fire Department, Office of the Fire Marshal at 410-289-8780.