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Frequently Asked Questions About Fireworks

What types of fireworks are legal in the District of Columbia?

Sparklers less than 20 inches, torches, box fire, fountains, cones, dip sticks, non-poisonous snakes, paper novelty items, colored lights, and paper caps.

Which fireworks products are illegal in DC?

Firecrackers or fireworks that explode, such as cherry bombs, salutes, Roman candles, floral shells, and artillery shells.

What can I do if I see someone engaging in illegal fireworks use or sales?

As a citizen of the District of Columbia, it is your duty to report the use of illegal fireworks use or sales to the DC Fire Marshals office at (202) 727-1600 for immediate action.

What are the penalties for using illegal fireworks?

Any person found engaging in the use or possession of illegal fireworks in the District of Columbia could face fines and penalties up to $1,000 and/or arrest for further prosecution.

Who should I buy my fireworks from?

Every citizen in the District of Columbia should only purchase fireworks from a licensed vendor.

From whom should retailers purchase fireworks to sell in the District of Columbia?

Any person wishing to purchase fireworks for sale in the District of Columbia shall only purchase their products from an approved wholesaler seller, whose products have been tested by the Office of the Fire Marshal for sell in the city. A list of approved fireworks and wholesalers can be obtained from the Office of the Fire Marshal after May 25 of each calendar year.

Remember: All unapproved fireworks will be seized by the Office of the Fire Marshal and destroyed. Be aware.

What permits do I need to sell fireworks in DC?

As a retail fireworks dealer in the District of Columbia, you should obtain a business license from DCRA and a permit from the DC Fire Marshal's office for fireworks inspection and storage. If a retailer can't produce both permits upon request, the firework products will be seized and the vendor will be closed. KEEP ALL PERMITS AND LICENSES ON PREMISES AT ALL TIMES.

Any person wishing to sell fireworks in the District of Columbia must obtain two permits:

Permit to sellers retail license from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).
A fireworks permit from the Office of the Fire Marshal, which will be issued upon site inspection. The permit price is $50.

What are my rights as a retailer if my products are seized by the Fire Marshal's office?

Retailers have the right to appeal to the Fire Marshal within 30 days of the products' seizure.

What happens to fireworks products that are seized?

The illegal fireworks products are destroyed after 30 days.

What are some fireworks safety tips I should know?

  • Always read and follow label directions.
  • Always have an adult present.
  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors.
  • Always have water or sand nearby to extinguish fireworks after use.
  • Never experiment or attempt to make fireworks.
  • Light fireworks one item at a time.
  • Never relight malfunctioning of dud fireworks.
  • Store fireworks out of the reach of children.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Never throw fireworks at another person.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Stand at least 15 feet from burning cones and fountains.
  • Do not light fireworks near combustibles, such as gasoline, newspapers, etc.
  • Do not ignite fireworks that have been wet and then dried.
  • Do not light fireworks at any place other than the fuse.
  • Do not use illegal fireworks.
  • Only use items that have the label clearly listing the manufacturer’s name, address, and warnings.