Michigan’s Fireworks Law: Keeping Your Family Safe

Looser rules have local fire departments worried about the summer holidays. Here's what you should know – and how to ensure safety for your kids.

Michigans New Fireworks Law Oh Mother

No more traveling to Ohio for those consumer-grade fireworks.

On Jan. 1, 2012 Michigan enacted a new firework law, allowing state residents to purchase and shoot off bigger fireworks, year-round. The potential dangers of the regulations are raising concerns, among both southeast Michigan families and public safety departments. In the July 2015 issue of Metro Parent, Children’s Hospital of Michigan sheds some light on firework safety and concerns in the post Are There Safe Fireworks for Kids?

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about the law, as well as safety precautions to take with fireworks around your family this Independence Day and in the days surrounding the holiday.

About the new fireworks law

The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act – or Public Act 256 of 2011 – has altered the rules on what size fireworks Michiganders can buy, and also when they can shoot them off.

Consumer-grade fireworks are now legal for purchase from state-authorized retailers, and must meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards, the law notes. This genre includes Roman candles, bottle rockets, aerials and missile-type rockets, according to a state press release (download a PDF of the full list of legal fireworks in Michigan here).

Michigan has put rules in place to regulate the sale of consumer fireworks, though.

Residents must be at least 18 years old to buy the fireworks, the state release notes, and retailers must apply for certification to sell the fireworks – which can’t be shot off on school grounds or public property. Fireworks also cannot be used on private property without permission from the property owner.

There are punishments in place for people who cause fire or injury with fireworks of any kind, as well as retailers who sell fireworks without certification from the state, the state adds.

The new law also prevents local governments from setting ordinances on certain days, meaning residents can shoot off fireworks more days of the year.

Local governments can “enact an ordinance regulating the ignition, discharge and use of consumer fireworks,” the law notes. But, it says, that ordinance can’t affect fireworks “on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday.”

Safety tips for shooting off fireworks

So how does this law affect your family, and how can you ensure you and the kids enjoy a safe Independence Day?

Former Shelby Township fire marshal Edward Vojtush recommends that kids under the age of 12 not be permitted to use fireworks – even sparklers – without adult supervision.

Vojtush does express concerns regarding the new firework law.

“I can’t imagine us having less injuries or fires as we had in years past,” he says. “Obviously, from (the fire department’s) point of view, if you want to enjoy fireworks, go to a professional display.”

Vojtush recommends that those who do decide to light off their own consumer-grade fireworks do so in “an open area away from homes, buildings and spectators.”

The fire marshal’s bottom line: “Use common sense, stay safe and be mindful of other people’s property.”

But wait! Before you go gung-ho, the state recommends you keep these things in mind, too:

  • Stand far away and back off after lighting.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions, and only buy fireworks from authorized retailers.
  • Do not get risky: Don’t make your own fireworks, point or throw them at people, or carry them in your pockets.
  • Keep a bucket of water or hose on hand in case of a fire. Then, when the fireworks stop burning, dunk them in the water bucket or spray with a hose.
  • Never try to relight a firework that didn’t ignite the first time, or reuse duds. Wait 15-20 minutes, and then put them in the water bucket or spray with the hose.

For more firework safety tips, and to learn the answer to the question, “are there safe fireworks for kids?” read the July 2015 branded content post on firework safety.

This article was originally published in June 2012 and has been updated.

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Comments
  • It’s disgusting that the state law allows fireworks in residential neighborhoods. Putting tax revenue ahead of public safety is not a wise thing to do

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  • I am so sick of the FREAKS in the neighborhood letting off fireworks, that I could scream. I only hope that one day they get back what they deserve.

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  • My neighbors (renters)family shot bottle rockets toward my new boat with me next to the boat. Law states the property owner hadsto give permission to have fireworks. They are renters not owners. Few years back my dock and old boat was hit and burned. We have Snyder thank for changing the law.

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  • Ah i doubt that bottle rockets would set things on fire? Unless maybe the thing it hit had gasoline poured on it? Maybe roman candles would easier ?

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  • You guys are all prudes. You’re the type of people that kids video tape and pull on youtube, that overreact to every little thing. You have to be 18 to buy the fireworks anyway.

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    • Yea, you have to be 18 in order to buy them but most of the rude obnoxious people who do buy them and shoot them off 4 feet from their neighbors house until 1a.m. have a 4 year old mentality even if they are past 18 years old. Here is where they come from…. Me…Myself and I mentality…. is the level most of you are at. You could care less what you do with the fireworks or who you endanger….you think nothing about anyone else. For the person that was acknowledging someone who died, buy sparklers and stick to your front sidewalk.

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  • Tonight, we had family over to shoot off fireworks in honor of a family member dying over the 4th of July. He was upset he was in the hospital and not shooting off fireworks, the next day he died. The kids in the family wanted to have fireworks in honor of their uncle on his birth date, which is today. It’s 10 pm and we start the fireworks. Not loud and obnoxious ones at all. The neighbor who lives over 1000 ft away from us comes over with a stick in hand using the f word in front of all the children. It’s July. All you party poopers should all live in the same community.

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    • Some people that have gone to college for quite some time (i.e. Doctors) have to go to work early in the morning. Unfortunately hospitals do not close for holidays or weekends.

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      • Let’s hear it for those of us who work and pay the taxes to keep this country running. We were not out damanging property, making a mess in the streets and making the air so bad it was good to be outdoors breathing that in. Many people buying these fireworks are not being careful with others properties or considerate at all. This is just one more way to cause anger and hostility in this country of ours and we certainly don’t need any more of that. Law makers where is YOUR head?!

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  • There will always be party poopers. They may be the same people that endanger lives everyday by merging on to freeways at 30mph., not using turn signals when they decide to cut over in front of your vehicle, not turning right on a red light with no turn sign in sight, talking on their cell phone while driving ( aka distracted driving), texting at red lights and not knowing the light’s turned green, texting while actually driving, putting on makeup while driving, going below the speed limit in the left hand lane, and just, obviously, never have taken drivers ed. not having learned to drive!! And a few fireworks are going to make them self righteous? Too many idiots in this world and on the roads!! Could go on about many other stupid things people do that leave them in no position to criticize others. I enjoy home fireworks and won’t stop doing them ’cause idiots think they’re dangerous. Well then, stop driving, biking and walking on or near roads…much more dangerous!! Also, can’t believe the low IQ individuals that ride motor bikes (aka donor cycles) without helmets just because the ignorant repeal of a common sense law allows them to do so. WTH??

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    • I too enjoy safe, responsible home firework shows. But the fact that you don’t think they are dangerous makes you an idiot. Two years ago I had a 2 inch meter blow up in the tube showering me with hot ash and shrapnel. If it were not for the fact that I was responsible and took extra precautions it could have been life altering. The minute you start thinking they are not dangerous is the very minute you become a fool.

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  • Just used driving as an example since I’m not privy to the stupid things these people do in private. Also, being an O.R. RN for over 30 yrs. has given me the knowledge and right to call them “donor cycles” even when helmets were mandatory. Still, helmets saved lives even if they didn’t prevent many deaths. Would a football player play without a helmet? Heck no!! Yet idiots going against 2+ ton vehicles somehow think they’re immune to fatal or lifetime altering severe head injuries. Saw too many deaths with helmets but saw some that helmets prevented death and/or life altering brain damage. The state should, at the very least, make those that choose not to wear helmets watch films of individuals that are 100% dependent on care givers to eat, let alone talk, walk, feel emotions, or clear their own secretions without suctioning from the extended care facility staff!!

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  • Like anything else, fireworks are fine up and to the point that they infringe on someone else. Last night my neighbor lit off some, one blew up before it went into the air and the sparks from that firework burnt holes in the seats of my boat. I approached the neighbor who quickly said “prove it”. I was sitting on my deck watching him. This happened on the third rocket he lit. I didn’t have the time to protect my boat. So now because of his carelessness I have ruined boat seats. What go around comes around, he will get his!

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  • I’m all for respectfull , responsible use of fireworks. But when it starts two weeks prior to the holiday and goes two weeks after is abusive and thoughtless. And any one who has shy dogs or cats knows how rough it can be for those members of our family to cower in corners or hide in dark closets to try to get away from the noise. They can’t help it. So to all you inconsiderate ,ignorant people who infringe on other people’s right to get peace and quiet at a reasonable time or too not have to sit in their yards until 2 am trying to protect their property from drunks lighting fireworks. Move to Canada and leave us law abiding citizens alone.

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    • I totally agree with you. Wished I had a leg to stand on like calling 911.

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  • There is a petition online to ban fireworks in michingn. Moveon.orgPetitions. sign it if u want them gone! Local residents should not be aloud to let off fireworks ever! They are loud and immature. Grown men lighting of fireworks. Get a life & grow up. Sign the petition! Tell everyone u know!!!

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  • I enjoy and fully support firework displays that are presented by professionals under properly controlled environments. I also support the right of private property owners to display fireworks as long as it does not infringe on the safety of neighboring property. I have been the victim of fireworks being displayed in a densely populated and confined area. The result was ash residue and much more than a few burn marks on the upholstery, carpeting, bimini top and mooring coverof my pontoon boat and ski boat. When the neighbor and guests started the display I approached and asked if the could a place the set the fireworks off that was not so dense and would jeopardize property i was told to “F***-off and mind my own business” . I left the area and called the local sheriff and explained the situation I was told there was nothing
    they could do (or maybe would do). The total bill for the damage was in excess of $4000.00. I still enjoy fireworks and only ask that the folks celebrating with fireworks do so in a manner that will not inflict damage on surrounding property. Use common sense and show respect for your neighbors. In a densely populated area it might be wise to let your neighbors know in advance that you will be displaying fireworks and ask for their support in your effort for a safe celebration.

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  • My neighbors are all VERY close and some of the debris land in my yard…very unsafe. Also, why allow them the day after a holiday? We get up at 4 am for work and don’t appreciate the noise till midnight or later. Several neighbors have them going at the same time and it’s as bad as loud music. Please at least alter the rules.

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  • I just read the “laws” and recommendations of the Fire Marshall over safety and it is the idiots who buy these things because they want to be “powerful” and make a big noise that do NOT pay attention to ANY of these recommendations. I had ash all over my car this morning, burn marks on the paint, I called the police twice last night because they were lighting the fireworks right next to the front door of my daughters car. The reason the police were called twice is because they did not listen to the police either, so they had to come back again. The only way we could make these so called “citizens” (or not) to obey the law was for the police car to sit in our neighborhood to make sure they obeyed. There were major fireworks going off all around our house, the sky was so foggy you could hardly see let alone breathe. This law has GOT to be abolished, shame on our government leaders for allowing the safety of our property, the health issue of bad air, etc. to get to this point. My neighbors are people who do not care about anyone except themselves. I asked them to go blow up the fireworks by their house next to their car and they said a tree was in their way. So that was their excuse for damaging our cars. So law-givers, there are people and a lot of them that are NOT obeying your laws and regulations and I can guarantee you they are not paying taxes either. I AM however and I would like the law changed since I help pay your paycheck!

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    • Though there is no law stating when these fireworks can or can’t be lit. There is a provision in the law that can hold these irresponsible people for damages caused by them using fireworks. Check into it and you should be able to get the damage covered.

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