Possession or Use of Fireworks is Illegal in Massachusetts
Swansea Police Chief Marc Haslam and Fire Chief Eric Hajder wish to share several important safety tips and reminders as residents prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services and State Police, fire departments statewide reported more than 900 fires related to illegal fireworks from 2012 to 2021. In addition to the 43 fire service injuries and $2.1 million in damages attributed to these fires, Massachusetts medical facilities reported 31 severe burn injuries extending to 5% or more of the victims’ bodies that were caused by illegal fireworks.
The possession, use and sale of all fireworks without a professional license is against the law in Massachusetts, and punishable by confiscation, fine, or imprisonment. Fines range from $100 to $1,000, and some violations could carry a one-year prison sentence. It is also illegal for private citizens to purchase fireworks legally elsewhere and then transport them into the state.
Residents are encouraged to report any misuse of fireworks they notice in the community to the Swansea Police Department at 508-674-8464. In case of a firework-related or other emergency, always dial 911.
Swansea Police also remind residents to drive and boat safely and while sober. Extra police patrols will be out on the roads and on the water around the Fourth of July holiday to monitor for unsafe and impaired driving/boating.
The Swansea Police and Fire Departments share the following safety tips with residents:
- Be mindful of pedestrians.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. From 2016 to 2020, there were 1,390 drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the Fourth of July holiday period — 41% of the drivers killed were drunk.
- Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, do not plan on driving. Instead, designate a sober driver or use public transportation or a ride-share service to get home safely.
- Take keys away from individuals who are under the influence and are planning to drive. Alcohol and drugs can impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory, which are critical for safe and responsible driving.
- If you see a possible impaired driver on the road, call 911.
- For more tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, click here.
- Attend organized and permitted fireworks displays only.
- Remember, alcohol/drugs and fireworks do not mix.
- Never allow young children to go near fireworks.
- Keep pets indoors and away from fireworks. The loud noises and flashing lights can be frightening and overwhelming for pets. Pets can become frightened and run from familiar environments and people, becoming lost. Read more here.
- Always wear a life jacket when on the water. Make sure the jacket is a proper fit for your size and weight and that it is properly fastened. The U.S. Coast Guard reports 76% of boating deaths in 2017 were due to drowning and 84% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket.
- Maintain awareness of your surroundings at all times.
- Be courteous and respectful to other boaters.
- Travel at a safe speed for the environment and conditions.
- Be sure you have and know how to use essential equipment, such as visual distress signals, sound-producing devices, locator devices, fire extinguishers and navigation lights.
- Check the latest forecast before leaving shore and watch for changing weather.
- Take a safe boating course and get a vessel safety check.
- Never boat under the influence. Drugs and alcohol impact your cognitive abilities, judgment, balance, coordination, reaction time and vision. Federal law prohibits boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs on all boats.
- For more information on safe boating, click here.
The men and women of the Swansea Police and Fire Departments wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July!