(C. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, June 27, 2012)
The giant boom of fireworks could be followed by the “whoop whoop” of police sirens (or worse fire engines) if residents don’t pay attention to the rules.
The State of Michigan has lifted a ban on consumer fireworks. State Representative Harold L. Haugh (D-Roseville) introduced the legislation and it made its way into law effective Jan 1, 2012 Michigan Fireworks Safety Act allows the sale and use of consumer fireworks such as Roman Candles, Bottle Rockets and other items that leave the ground. The Act also sets up regulations of the sale and use, establishes fees, and establishes a Fireworks Safety Fund to help local firefighters deal with the potential dangers of allowing people to use them.
The bill also gives local authorities the right to restrict use of fireworks, but says “A local unit of government may enact an ordinance regulating the ignition, discharge, and use of consumer fireworks. However, an ordinance enacted under this subsection shall not regulate the use of consumer fireworks on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday.”
In response, on April 23, 2012 Ferndale City Council voted to do just that, with all members agreeing that use of fireworks should be limited to the extent allowable by law. The ordinance now states that fireworks are only permitted on the day before, the day of, or the day after a holiday.
Violating the ordinance carries a potential misdemeanor charge punishable by up to ninety (90) days in jail and/or a fine up to $500.
Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan weighed in before the item, which was part of the consent agenda, was approved. “The main reason behind it is when the legislators thought of the action they thought of allowing it to be fired from your property. They weren’t thinking that projectiles going into the air on fire have to land somewhere else.
In a subsequent interview, Fire Marshall Brian Batten said he’s worried about the improper use of dangerous explosives.
“Make sure you follow the instructions,” Batten said. “And make sure they are going up where they won’t come down and get on somebody’s roof. We had one instance where a piece came down and burned their neighbor’s pool cover.
Batten said that while fireworks-related injuries and fires are rare in Ferndale, it’s possible the newer larger fireworks could be more dangerous.” He described one particularly bad accident. “Around 88 or 89 we had a young boy lighting off fireworks. But of course he didn’t want his parents to know so he was hiding in the closet, and he set the house on fire.”
Another important thing to remember is that fireworks cannot be set off in public parks without first getting permission from the City. For more information on these and other ordinances, consult the official City of Ferndale website at http://www.ferndale-mi.com/.