RALEIGH – It’s that time of year and South of the Border, just south of the North Carolina-South Carolina line, is hopping. The store manager here estimates that fireworks sales to North Carolinians account for about thirty percent of their sales all year. But maybe not for long. Rep. Mark Brody (R-Monroe) has introduced a bill that would broaden the kind of fireworks that consumers can buy in North Carolina.
He expects the bill to be discussed in the House Finance Committee within a few weeks of returning from the Independence Day weekend. If you are shopping for this weekend, be aware that your destination should determine your shopping list. In South Carolina, pretty much all fireworks are legal, except ones that explode, like M80s and cherry bombs. Customers have to be 16 or accompanied by a parent.
“We don’t let the kids near them when we are setting them off,” said shopper Bill Rutledge. “too much could go wrong.”
Currently in North Carolina, fireworks that spin or leave the ground are illegal. That includes bottle rockets and roman candles. Individual municipalities might have further restrictions. Violating the state law is a misdemeanor. You’ll get hit with a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. Instead small, ground-level fountains and sparklers are a popular pick in North Carolina — but remember, sparkers often burn at around 2,000 degrees. WakeMed in Raleigh reports that 20 percent of their visits Fourth of July weekend are sparkler burns.
“It’s easy to think that sparklers and fountains are safe because they are sold in supermarkets, but in many cases these small consumer fireworks start fires and cause serious burn injuries,” said N.C. Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin. “I want every North Carolinian to enjoy a safe holiday weekend and leave all fireworks to the professionals.”
In North Carolina you don’t have to go far to find a professional fireworks show full of ohhs and ahhs. There is one in almost every community. The state Fire Marshall runs the permitting and licensing process.To have a pyrotechnics operator license, applicants must take classes, sit for testing and assist in displays. To maintain their license they must take 12 additional training education hours per year.