Firework Safety


Illegal Fireworks

Certain fireworks are illegal to sell or possess in North Carolina. These include firecrackers, ground spinners, bottle rockets, Roman candles, and aerial fireworks. A simple rule of thumb; anything that explodes or is projected into the air is illegal.

Legal Fireworks

In general, sparklers, fountains and novelty fireworks items that do not explode or are not intended to spin or to leave the ground and fly through the air, are permitted for use in North Carolina. Fireworks that are legal include:

  • Snake and glow worms
  • Smoke devices consisting of a tube or sphere that produce white or colored smoke
  • Trick noisemakers, including party poppers, string poppers and snappers
  • Wire sparklers

Age Requirements

Children under the age of 16 cannot legally buy or use fireworks in North Carolina.


Each year, thousands of people sustain injuries from fireworks - serious enough to send them to their local emergency room. The majority of the injuries were from burns. Sparklers are the most frequent cause of firework injuries to children nationwide. A lit sparkler can reach temperatures of up to 1,800 degrees that can cause third degree burns when a child grabs the wire.

Fire Department Tips

The Apex Fire Department offers the following safety tips:

  • Buy from reliable fireworks vendors
  • Never alter fireworks or try to make your own
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Loose clothing should not be worn while handling fireworks
  • Fireworks are not toys and should only be handled by responsible adults.
  • Have a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire emergency
  • Light one firework at a time and move away from it quickly, if a firework does not light the first time, do not attempt to light it again
  • Ignite your fireworks outdoors on a paved surface, away from grass, trees and other vegetation
  • Never shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container

Hot, dry, and humid weather makes fireworks especially dangerous this time of year! Residents are encouraged to view firework shows held by professionals, rather than create their own display. For additional information please call (919) 362-4001.