4th of July Safety

The Winston-Salem Police Department wants everyone to have an enjoyable and safe holiday on the 4th of July. Be aware of the laws, be safe.

4th of July Fireworks Safety for the Non-professional

As a general rule, North Carolina has restrictive laws on fireworks. Many fireworks you can purchase in South Carolina are not legal in North Carolina.

Legal Fireworks in North Carolina

Fireworks that are legal in North Carolina include poppers, sparklers, fountains and novelty items that don't explode, spin, leave the ground or fly through the air.

Examples of legal fireworks: 

  • Noisemakers like snappers and string poppers
  • Snake and glow worms
  • Smoke devices
  • Wire sparklers

There's a misconception that all fireworks are legal on holidays like New Years, Memorial Day and July 4th. That's not true, the same laws still hold true all year.

Illegal Fireworks in North Carolina

There are certain fireworks that are illegal to possess in this state. That includes:

  • Any aerial fireworks
  • Bottle rockets
  • Firecrackers
  • Fireworks that spin on the ground
  • Roman candles

Essentially, any firework that leaves the ground is not legal in North Carolina.

Penalties for using fireworks illegally in North Carolina

Violators of the state's fireworks law face a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine up to $500 and or imprisonment of up to six months.

Purchasing fireworks in North Carolina

You must be 18 years old. (The age of purchase is 16 in South Carolina.)

Firework Safety in North Carolina

The majority of injuries from fireworks are from smaller devices, like fountains and sparklers.

Tips for Safety

  • Buy from reliable fireworks vendors, never alter fireworks or try to make your own
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Loose clothing should not be worn while handling fireworks
  • Fireworks are not toys and should only be handled by responsible adults
  • Have a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire emergency
  • Light one firework at a time and move away from it quickly, if a firework does not light the first time, do not attempt to light it again
  • Ignite your fireworks outdoors on a paved surface, away from grass, trees and other vegetation
  • Never shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container