Monday, November 21, 2016
Salvatore’s Fireworks Ordinance Gains Council Support
The City Council approved first passage of an ordinance on Thursday that closes a legal loophole on the use of fireworks not currently regulated under state law. The ordinance—which was introduced by Councilman David Salvatore (Ward 14)— requires anyone selling or using ground based fireworks or sparkers to first obtain a permit from the City’s Board of Licenses. The per diem fee for vendors is $50; for fireworks users, it is $25.
Salvatore is hopeful that these regulations will deter residents from using fireworks recklessly. “Each year, thousands of people are injured from the use of consumer fireworks,” said Salvatore. “While consumer fireworks like handheld sparklers may seem harmless, recent research and findings suggest the opposite and are cause for serious concern, especially among young people. Additionally, Providence's high density neighborhoods and the inherent dangers related to fireworks are compelling reasons for the passage of this ordinance.”
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), sparklers, fountains, roman candles, and other small novelties account for 44% of all fireworks injuries. In 2015, there were 11 deaths and nearly 12,000 fireworks injuries in the U.S.; a fifteen-year high. More than a third of all fireworks injuries are to children under 15.
“As entertaining as they are to some, fireworks should be left to trained professionals,” said Salvatore. “By regulating fireworks and putting the health and safety of our residents first, it is my hope that residents will take the dangers of fireworks seriously and assist us in improving our quality of life in Providence. While this ordinance is not a perfect solution, the preventive measure supported by my colleagues on the City Council addresses many of concerns expressed by neighbors since the legalization of fireworks by the General Assembly in 2012.”
Ordinances require two passages from the City Council and this ordinance in particular must be approved at the state level before it becomes law. If the ordinance gains second approval from the Council, it will still require approval from the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal & Review before it can be enforced. If approved, violations will be subject to fines that range from $100-$500.
The Council is expected to take a second vote on the matter on Thursday, December 2nd.