Change in Pennsylvania fireworks law creates little impact for first responders

(HM Media – by Jennifer Fitch) Despite anecdotes about increased amateur fireworks use in southern Franklin County, police and fire officials said they received very few calls about the activity.

Pennsylvania’s Fireworks Act of 1939 was repealed last year and replaced with a less restrictive law, allowing residents to buy a wider variety of consumer fireworks, according to a news release that Pennsylvania State Police issued when the law changed.

The new law allows consumers to buy firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets and other fireworks containing 50 milligrams or less of explosive material, the release said.

On Thursday, police and fire officials from the greater Waynesboro, Greencastle and Mercersburg areas reported receiving no or few calls this week related to disturbances involving fireworks.

None said they got called for injuries from fireworks.

Waynesboro Mayor Richard A. Starliper said he heard from constituents praising the official town display, but didn’t receive feedback on amateur use.

“I know there were a lot of individuals (using fireworks) in my area until midnight,” he said.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr. said he hadn’t heard feedback on fireworks in his community.

Before the law change, Pennsylvania residents were restricted to what types of fireworks they could purchase.

“We had someone stop by the station asking what is legal and where, when and how they can be used,” Washington Township (Pa.) Police Department Office Administrator Cindy Broas said.