Local students are on summer vacation now, and with vacation time comes summer events — and home firework displays.
For the second summer in a row, regular Pennsylvanians have had access to a wider variety of fireworks than in the past.
“The law actually changed at the end of October 2017,” said Alisa Sanchez, manager of Keystone Fireworks in Foster Brook. “What the law says now, Pennsylvania residents can buy anything,” she said, noting that residents were previously limited to smoking devices, sparklers and fountains.
Pennsylvanians can buy mortars, bottle cakes, firecrackers and more, she said.
One change since last summer is that tent stores were able to sell some aerial stuff in 2018 but can’t this year.
What happened, Sanchez said, is a court decision overturned the law at temporary locations like tent stores, as they don’t have the same safety standards that permanent buildings have. Temporary stores can only sell ground stuff — nothing that goes up in the air or blows up.
Meanwhile, permanent stores like Keystone Fireworks can sell products such as Roman candles, missiles and firecrackers that customers can’t purchase at tent stores, Sanchez explained.
In New York state, legislators only recently legalized "safe and sane" fireworks, which do not leave the ground or explode.
Sanchez offered several tips to help customers keep celebrations from turning scary.
“Fireworks are so much fun, but they are still dangerous,” she said.
To start, “You should always be reading the labels on the fireworks,” she said, explaining there are often instructions such as aiming them in a certain way.
Also, “Always have water nearby,” said Sanchez. She recommended at least keeping a bucket of water nearby to douse the remains from used fireworks to make sure it’s extinguished.
It’s important to set up fireworks on a hard, flat surface, too, she said, adding that fireworks can be stabilized with blocks or bricks.
“Of course, everyone should be courteous,” Sanchez said. People setting off fireworks should remember they have neighbors and friends who may not appreciate the noise at unreasonable hours.
By law, people must be 18 years old to buy. Also, Pennsylvania law states that fireworks being set off must be at least 150 feet from any occupied building, said Sanchez, who noted, “It’s smart to be in an open area,” with few trees and far from buildings.
People looking to supplement their outdoor celebrations with a firework display have many options.
Sanchez said Keystone Fireworks has more than 300 different items in stock to choose from, including 500-gram finales, mortars, bottle rockets and more.
“The 10,000-square-foot store is always fully stocked,” she said, and all fireworks are currently buy one get one for 99 cents. “It’s a good time to come out and shop.”