HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – If you want to enjoy a fireworks show this 4th of July, you can check out one of the official displays planned across Hampton Roads. Personal firework use is banned in most of Hampton Roads.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is illegal to possess, use, store, sale, or handle any firework that explodes, rises into the air or travels laterally, or to fire projectiles into the air. Some of these illegal fireworks are better known as firecrackers, torpedo, bottle rockets, and mortars. The offense for illegal fireworks is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

Review the fireworks code in your area:

Chesapeake – It is illegal to possess, manufacture, store, sell, handle or use fireworks in Chesapeake.
Hampton – The City of Hampton Prevention Code bans the use and possession of all fireworks, with the exception of sparklers. Permits are required for public or private display of fireworks or pyrotechnics. 
Newport News – It is illegal to possess, display or explode any fireworks without a permit issued by the fire marshal.
Norfolk – It is illegal to possess, or set off or otherwise cause to explode or discharge or burn in any park, any firecrackers, torpedo rockets or other fireworks or explosives of inflammable material.
Portsmouth – It is illegal to possess, sell, or store fireworks in the City of Portsmouth as described in Sec 13.101 in the City Code. Portsmouth PD and Portsmouth Fire Marshals can enforce a class 1 misdemeanor for the offense.
Suffolk – It is a violation of the City Code to store, to offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail, or use or explode any fireworks. The fire marshal shall seize, take, remove or cause to be removed, at the expense of the owner, all stocks of fireworks offered or exposed for display or sale, stored or held in violation of this article. “The City of Suffolk Fire & Rescue Department and the NFPA encourage people to enjoy public displays of fireworks, as the safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained experts. Preparing for a day of family barbeques and holiday excitement is no fun if it includes a trip to the emergency room due to improper handling of fireworks. Leave it to the professions.” For more information on fire safety, please contact the Suffolk Fire Marshal’s Office at 757-514-4540.
Virginia Beach – It is illegal to transport, manufacture, assemble, store, sell, offer or display for sale, or to buy, use, possess, ignite or explode any firecracker, torpedo, sky rocket, sparkler, or other substance or device that contains any explosive or flammable compound or substance, and is intended or commonly known as fireworks, and which explodes, rises into the air or travels laterally, fires projectiles or discharges sparks into the air. All Fireworks shows requesting to shoot on any public beach within the City of Virginia Beach shall be denied. All proposed beach shows shall be moved to a display barge offshore.

If you travel somewhere where it is legal to possess fireworks (or if you are lighting something as seemingly harmless as sparklers) here’s what you need to know from the National Safety Council to be safe:

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks (see above.) Call your local police department with questions.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

Above all, 10 On Your Side wants you to be safe and happy this 4th of July. Remember to have a designated driver or call a cab if you celebrated a little too much and be careful of extra traffic on the roads going to and leaving all of the Independence Day celebrations.

Have fun, be safe, and Happy 4th of July, Hampton Roads!