ARLINGTON — With the Fourth of July holiday fast approaching, Chief Julie Flaherty and the Arlington Police Department wish to remind residents that the recreational use of fireworks in Massachusetts is illegal.
According to the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal, fires started by fireworks increased by 180% in 2020 and complaints to local police departments increased significantly as well. This year, state and local law enforcement agencies will be ramping up their efforts to stop illegal firework use and sales in Massachusetts.
The possession, use and sale of fireworks without a professional license is against the law in Massachusetts, and punishable by confiscation, fine or imprisonment. Fines range from $100 to $1,000, and some violations could carry a one-year prison sentence.
In order to cut down on residents purchasing fireworks in other states and transporting them back to Massachusetts, members of the State Police will begin targeted patrols along state lines to enforce fireworks laws.
According to the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal, between 2011 and 2020, there were over 900 reported major fires and explosions involving illegal fireworks. During that time span, 32 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burns or other injuries from fireworks.
Residents are encouraged to report any misuse of fireworks they notice in their community to the Arlington Police Department at 781-643-1212. In case of a firework-related or other emergency, always dial 911.
Additionally, the Arlington Police Department reminds residents to be aware of these key safety tips during Fourth of July celebrations:
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Be mindful of pedestrians
- Attend organized and permitted fireworks displays only
- Remember: alcohol/drugs and fireworks do not mix
- Keep pets indoors
The Arlington Police Department also urges residents to observe the following tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on getting home safely following Fourth of July celebrations:
- Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, do not plan on driving
- Designate a sober driver or use public transportation or a ride-share service to get home safely
- Take keys away from individuals who are under the influence and are planning to drive. Alcohol and drugs can impair perception, judgment, motor skills and memory, which are critical for safe and responsible driving
- If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 911