Red Phone: What are the rules on fireworks?

Red Phone

“Dear Red Phone, You know what really chaps my hide? My neighbors launching fireworks at all hours of the night this Fourth of July (and often the next day, too!) Can you remind people the rules about lighting fireworks at your home and how to dispose of them? I sincerely appreciate it.”
Red Phone: Dear Piccolo Pete, Sorry your neighbors are waking you up during Independence Day, friend. Here’s a few tips you can clip out and pass around at the afternoon block party before all fireworks break loose in Gilroy. Remember, friends, you can only purchase and set off consumer fireworks in Gilroy. It’s barred in Morgan Hill and everywhere else in Santa Clara County. Rules are rules.

  • Only “safe and sane” fireworks are legal for home use. Basically this means fireworks that don’t fly or explode. Think of sparklers, fountains, smoke bombs, pinwheels and other ground-only varieties. Firecrackers, Piccolo Pete’s and other whistling explosives not marked “safe and sane” by the state are illegal.
  • No one under 18 is allowed to light fireworks.
  • It’s illegal to ignite fireworks within 10 feet of any home or other building.
  • It’s illegal to ignite fireworks from July 5 to midnight on June 30.
  • According to Gilroy’s municipal code, if a person is in violation of its fireworks code (such as lighting illegal fireworks or lighting them on a day other than July 4), he or she can be punished by a fine as much as $1,000 or by imprisonment in county jail for a period not to exceed 30 days, or both.
  • Wear cotton, long pants and covered shoes when lighting fireworks.
  • Never drink alcohol or smoke when using fireworks.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and away from children. Small children could put small fireworks in their mouths.
  • Do not use matches to light fireworks. Instead use a punk stick or handheld instant torch so there’s some distance between the firework and person lighting it.
  • Do not store failed or dud fireworks – they can suddenly ignite without warning.
  • Shoot fireworks one at a time, never try to light several fuses at one time.

If you aren’t buying or watching fireworks in your neighborhood, check out the free fireworks shows at Gilroy High School  and Morgan Hill’s Community Park the night of July 4. Bring your blankets or chairs to sit on and maybe a sweater. Weather should be about 60 degrees once the sun goes down.”