Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties have all passed local laws opting-in to New York’s “Sparkler” law, which was signed by Governor Cuomo last fall. The law allows for the sale of consumer fireworks categorized as “sparkling devices” during two holiday periods each year — June 1 through July 5 and Dec. 26 through Jan. 2. Sparkling devices are handheld or ground-based fireworks that produce a shower of sparks, colored flames, crackling or whistling noises and smoke. Sales and use of these sparkling devices are restricted to those aged 18 or older.
What is now legal under the amended law?
Cylindrical fountain: A cylindrical tube containing not more than 75 grams of pyrotechnic composition. The device may be provided with a wood or plastic spike for inserting in the ground or a wood or cardboard handle. When more than one tube is mounted on a common base, total pyrotechnic composition may not exceed 200 grams, and when tubes are securely attached to a base.
Cone fountain: A cardboard or heavy paper cone containing not more than 50 grams of pyrotechnic composition. When more than one cone is mounted on a common base, total pyrotechnic composition may not exceed 200 grams.
Wooden sparkler/dipped stick (not metal): These devices consist of a wood dowel that has been coated with pyrotechnic composition. Upon ignition of the tip of the device, a shower of sparks is produced. Sparklers may contain up to 100 grams of pyrotechnic composition per item.
Party popper: A small devices with paper or plastic exteriors that are actuated by means of friction — a string or trigger is typically pulled to actuate the device. They frequently resemble champagne bottles or toy pistols in shape.
Snapper: A small, paper-wrapped devices containing not more than one milligram of silver fulminate coated on small bits of sand or gravel. When dropped, the device explodes, producing a small report.
Firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners and aerial devices remain illegal across the state. The new law excludes New York City. All consumer fireworks, including sparkling devices, continue to be prohibited there. To determine which of New York’s 63 counties have opted-in to the new law, consumers may search the Department of State’s database of local laws.
The New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services warns that these newly legal fireworks can be dangerous; sparklers can burn as hot as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. In 2013, they were responsible for 31 percent of the 11,400 fireworks-related injuries reported across the country.
The Department offers these sparkler safety tips:
- Carefully follow directions printed on the packaging;
- never use sparklers indoors;
- wear eye protection;
- light only one sparkler at a time;
- never use sparklers while under the influence of drugs and alcohol;
- keep a fire extinguisher nearby;
- extinguish spent sparklers by dousing with water;
- only purchase from New York registered retailers.