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Sun Prairie Police Department, Wisconsin
Thursday June 28th, 2018 :: 07:08 a.m. CDT


Fireworks: Safety First - What is Legal, What is Not

Sun Prairie Police Department, EMS and Fire Department

Contact: Mark Mlekush, Fire Marshal
Phone: 608-837-5066

Fireworks: Safety first and what is legal, what is not

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, the Sun Prairie Fire Department, Sun Prairie EMS, and Sun Prairie Police Department wish to urge you to use extreme care, especially when using fireworks as part of your celebration activities. Additionally, please be aware of the laws that govern fireworks in Wisconsin.

Safety first! According the CPSC, roughly 250 people visit emergency rooms per day during the 30-day period surrounding the 4th of July because of fireworks related injuries. The majority of these ER visits are due to thermal burns to hands and fingers, and the head and face.

Did you know that something as simple as a sparkler can cause a severe burn? It happens all too often, as the average sparkler burns at approximately 2000˚ Fahrenheit. (Hot enough to melt some metals…)

Staying safe while celebrating is easy. Just follow these simple tips for proper handling of fireworks:

• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
• Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them

Don’t forget that fireworks are very scary for your pets. When fireworks are in use, please keep all pets inside your house or in a safe familiar place where they feel secure. Each year, an increasing number of unintended victims of fireworks use are pets who get scared and run away.

Now…let’s talk about fireworks and the law. In Wisconsin the rule of thumb is that “if it goes up, or it goes boom, then it is illegal”. Here is a rundown of the rules, straight from the Wisconsin Department of Justice:

Legal Without A Permit

State law allows the sale, possession and use, without a permit, of sparklers not exceeding 36 inches in length, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noisemakers, confetti poppers with less than ¼ grain of explosive mixture, and novelty devices that spin or move on the ground. Wis. Stat. § 167.10(1). There is no age restriction on sale, possession or use of these devices and the statute does not classify them as fireworks. Local ordinances may be more restrictive than state statutes and may prohibit any of these items or limit their sale or use. These are the only kinds of “fireworks,” as that word is commonly used, that a person may use or possess without a permit or that may be sold to a person who does not have a permit.

Illegal Without A Permit

Possessing or using any other fireworks, including, for example, firecrackers, roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars, in Wisconsin without a valid permit is illegal. Wis. Stat. § 167.10(3). A commonly used rule of thumb is that a permit is required if the device explodes or leaves the ground. The sale of these restricted fireworks to a resident of this state without a valid permit is also illegal. Wis. Stat. § 167.10(2).

And finally, failure to follow the fireworks law can land you in hot water!!


A person who possesses or uses fireworks without a valid permit, or who sells fireworks to a person who does not have a valid permit, is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000 per violation. Wis. Stat. § 167.10(9)(b). Each firework illegally possessed, used or sold may be a separate violation.

A parent or guardian who allows a minor to possess or use fireworks (not including those for which no permits are required) is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000 per violation. Wis. Stat. § 167.10(9)(c).

A city, village or town may obtain an injunction prohibiting a person from violating Wis. Stat. § 167.10(8)(a). Violations of such an injunction are criminal misdemeanors, subject to up to 9 months in jail and a $10,000 fine. Wis. Stat. § 167.10(9)(a).

City of Sun Prairie has adopted the above state statutes as it relates to the use and possession of fireworks:
• 8.16.020(a) – Use of fireworks restricted (keep, use, discharge, sell or offer to sell)
• 8.16.020(c) – Adults allowing a juvenile to possess or ignite fireworks prohibited
• 8.32.010 – Loud and unnecessary noise prohibited

Sun Prairie Police Department, Wisconsin
300 East Main Street
Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 608-837-7336

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