Fireworks can brighten celebrations, and proper fireworks use can protect you and others from injury to help keep the festivities going longer. Whether you plan to purchase fireworks, use them or observe a display, remember the following.
Fireworks Safety Tips
- If you do not have a permit, buy only consumer-grade fireworks (1.4g fireworks).
- Check your local ordinances for fireworks hours restrictions.
- Only use fireworks at locations where you have approval to set them off.
- Always have a supply of water or a fire extinguisher available to put out fireworks. Douse spent fireworks with water before throwing them away.
- Do not hold lit fireworks in your hands.
Buy the Right Fireworks
Did you know there are primarily two types of fireworks? The most common are consumer fireworks (1.4g fireworks), which are small devices and frequently sold at retail fireworks stores statewide. The other kind of fireworks, called display fireworks (1.3g fireworks), are not legal without state and federal permits. These are more powerful fireworks meant for large displays or shows, and they are banned in many states.
Display fireworks can only be transported or received by those who have the valid permitting, and they must be stored in a special type of container meant for explosives. Makers of display fireworks are required to have a license to do so, but many are made illegally and can be poorly made. These fireworks can cause injury or death when ignited, either accidentally or intentionally. They often look the same as consumer fireworks, but here are indicators that a firework may be illegal for consumers:
- Fireworks in brown paper wrapping instead of cellophane
- Items in boxes that have no graphics or markings
- A firework that is being sold in a non-commercial location, such as a vehicle or residence
- Seller has no evidence of a receipt or commercial packaging
- Seller cannot say where the firework was originally purchased
If you recognize any of these signs, do not purchase them. Report the seller to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) at 1-888-283-2662.
Note: Cherry bombs, M-80s, M-100s or silver salutes, M-250s, M-1000s or quarter sticks are illegal and should also be reported to law enforcement.
Respect Others and the Law
Although many Hoosiers find fireworks entertaining, they can be overwhelming for many people, pets and wild animals. Remember to be considerate of individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other types of medical conditions. The loud, unexpected sounds caused by fireworks may trigger their symptoms. Late-night fireworks can also disrupt many people’s sleep. Similarly, pets and wild animals can also be sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and strong smells. Many react in fear — hiding, shaking, barking or running away to escape the stressful environment. Take precautions to avoid upsetting neighbors and animals.
Become more familiar with the state fireworks laws in Indiana. It is also important to check local ordinances for any fireworks limitations that might exist in the area:
- Fireworks can only be purchased by persons 18 years of age or older.
- Fireworks use is limited to personal property, the property of someone who has approved the use of fireworks or a location designated specifically for the use of consumer fireworks.
- Throughout the year it is legal in Indiana to set off fireworks from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., but this may be limited further by local ordinances. Citizens should check with local officials.
- On state holidays it is legal to set off fireworks from 9 a.m. to midnight, but this may be limited further by local ordinances.
- The times on the following dates are protected in Indiana for consumer use of fireworks and may not be prohibited by local ordinance:
- June 29 to July 3: from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset;
- July 4: from 10 a.m. to midnight;
- July 5 to July 9: from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset; and
- December 31: from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
- All public fireworks displays must receive a state permit, which includes approval by the chief of the local fire department. A permit is needed not only to conduct the display, but also to possess and transport the fireworks used in these shows.
- All fireworks manufacturers, distributors and sellers in Indiana are required to receive state permits. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) inspects these locations as part of the permitting process.
Fireworks are combustible or explosive devices, and they should be handled cautiously. Sparklers, for example, burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which can melt some metals, not to mention burn skin.
Always remember the following safety tips when interacting with fireworks:
- Only light one firework at a time and never attempt to re-light or fix a "dud" firework.
- Always have a fire extinguisher or water supply, such as a hose or bucket of water, nearby.
- Do not allow young children to use fireworks, and only let older children handle them under close adult supervision.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
- Never smoke or consume alcohol when lighting fireworks.
- Do not hold lit fireworks in your hands, and do not point or throw fireworks at others.
- Use extreme caution when lighting fireworks in the wind. Keep spectators where the wind is blowing smoke and debris away from them.
- Steer clear of others setting off fireworks. They can backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction.
- After a firework has finished burning, douse it with plenty of water before throwing it away to prevent starting a trash fire.
- Do not attempt to make or alter any fireworks or firework devices.
- Keep pets indoors, away from fireworks. Set up an area away from windows where they cannot see or hear fireworks, as many pets are terrified of them. Consider buying medication from a veterinarian ahead of time to calm pets.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: 2021 statistics, nationwide
11,500 injuries treated at hospitals June 18 to July 18
Males sustain 59% of injuries
3 in 10 injuries are to children younger than 15 years old
Burns account for 32% of injuries
1,500 firecracker injuries, 1,100 sparkler injuries, 500 rocket injuries
35% of injuries are to the head area, 31% to hands and fingers
Generally speaking, the State Fire Marshal enforces laws governing the use, possession, shipment and sale of fireworks in Indiana. These laws make requirements of manufacturers, retailers and users of fireworks, and the IDHS Code Enforcement Section works daily to make sure building and fire codes, including applicable fireworks laws, are being followed around Indiana.
Code officials work with local building, fire and enforcement departments to provide continuous educational training, building and fire code interpretation and on-site inspection assistance. Inspectors are in the field daily, performing inspections related to fireworks permits, amusement and entertainment permits, industrialized buildings and mobile structures, outdoor event equipment, temporary stages and more.
The Code Enforcement Section handles permit applications and status requests relating to fireworks, amusement and entertainment and outdoor event equipment. Applicants for these permits use the online service Public Safety Portal.
Find more information on fireworks laws in Indiana on the Fireworks Permits and Use page.