Guidelines for fireworks discharge in St. John the Baptist Parish

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 21, 2013

LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre would like to remind the public of the following guidelines concerning the discharge of fireworks in the parish.
In St. John Parish it is lawful for persons to discharge fireworks within the parish on the following days and times:
• Christmas Eve from dusk until 10 p.m.
• Christmas Day from dusk until 10 p.m.
• New Year’s Eve from dusk until 1 a.m.
• New Year’s Day morning
• New Year’s Day from dusk until 10 p.m.
All discharging of fireworks by the general public should be done with the supervision of responsible adults. Anyone under the age of 15 is prohibited from discharging fireworks without the direct supervision of a parent, guardian or other responsible party.
No fireworks may be discharged closer than 500 feet from any hospital, church, nursing home or school that is occupied.
No fireworks should be modified in anyway from their original design nor combined with any other devices in an attempt to increase the energy or loudness of the discharging.
Violators upon conviction in a court of proper jurisdiction, will be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not less than $50 and not more than $500.
In addition, State Fire Marshal Butch Browning offers this advice to those who plan to use fireworks:
• Always read and follow the label directions carefully.
• Always have a garden hose or water bucket nearby for medical emergencies and/or to douse spent or misfired fireworks.
• Adults should always supervise fireworks activity.
• Fireworks should be placed on a hard, smooth surface prior to ignition. Never light fireworks in your hand.
• Quickly light one firework at a time, and move away quickly after lighting.
• Never point or throw fireworks at people, pets, cars or buildings
• Keep fireworks away from small children.
• Do not alter or make your own fireworks.
• After displays, never pick up fireworks that may be left over.
Fireworks that have been ignited and fail to immediately explode or discharge can cause injury, as they may still be active. Children should always tell an adult if they find fireworks rather than picking up smoking or charred fireworks themselves.
Pyrotechnic devices ranging from sparklers to aerial rockets cause thousands of fires and serious injuries each year.
“When things go wrong, they go wrong very fast, and often with disastrous consequences,” said Browning.
In recent years, fireworks have been one of the leading causes of injuries serious enough to require hospital emergency room treatment. Fireworks can result in severe burns, fractures, scars, lifelong disfigurement or even death. The thousands of serious injuries each year typically harm the eyes, head or hands and are mostly reported in states, such as Louisiana, where fireworks are legal. Even sparklers, which are considered by many to be harmless, can reach temperatures in excess of 1,200 degrees.
Wooded areas, homes, and even automobiles have become engulfed in flames because of fireworks. Firework-related fires have typically caused at least $27 million in property loss nationally in recent years.
Browning said, “Due to the fire hazard as well as the inherent risk of injury involved in fireworks, citizens are urged to use extreme caution when handling fireworks to ensure a safe, fire-free holiday. The few moments of pleasure consumer fireworks bring are not worth the risk of property loss, injury or death. Avoid needless risks.”
Holiday Exemptions for Alcohol Beverage Sale
The St. John the Baptist Parish ordinance on the sale of alcoholic beverages exempts the following days from the curfew hours:
• Christmas Eve
• Christmas Day
• New Year’s Eve
• New Year’s Day