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At Issue: Fireworks laws in Vermont - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

At Issue: Fireworks laws in Vermont

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Fourth of July is just around the corner, and fireworks are tradition around the country.

In Vermont, there are no rules for smaller displays, and adults can buy sparklers and novelties including smoke devices, snappers, or party poppers. But the bigger ones, including bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman Candles, or fountains, are illegal without a permit.

"It is possible to have a legal fireworks display. There are several steps that would need to be followed, and unfortunately very few people actually do that," says Vermont State Police Captain Paul White.

Those steps:

- Set a date for the display

- Get a permit from your fire chief or town selectboard at least 15 days ahead of time

- Get your competent fireworks operator approved by the police and fire chiefs

"Unfortunately there's no legal definition given of competent operator. But it means it has to be someone responsible, someone who's not intoxicated to the point that they're not safe. Can't be a child," he says.

He says it's important to note that just because you can buy the fireworks in some stores doesn't mean you can have them without proper permits.

"The consumer needs to be aware that although it's legal for the store to sell them to you, the moment you walk out the door into the parking lot with that bag of fireworks, you are breaking the law," he says.

And breaking the law could come with a fine of $100.

"It's unfortunate that they are so dangerous," says White. "They are basically explosives. And not used in the proper manner, they cause thousands of injuries."

He says most of the safety tips for people who are planning on setting off sparklers and the like in their backyards are common sense:

-Don't use them in an unsafe place or near anything flammable.

-Don't let kids use them unsupervised.

-And with sparklers, don't drop them on the ground when they're done. The sticks are still hot and are often sharp, which can lead to cuts and burns.

There is also the noise issue. Not everyone is a fan, especially pets. Police say if you're going out to a show, leave the four-legged family members at home, and bring them inside if they're spooked.

"Dogs react badly to loud noises and dogs react badly to large crowds, so it's just not a good place to bring the pets," says White. "They get scared, they can bite, they can break their leashes and run."

Some of the fireworks that are illegal in Vermont are legal in New Hampshire, but you're not allowed to bring them back into Vermont without permits. State police told us while going after backyard fireworks are not their top priority, if they get calls about disturbances and noise complaints, they do have to investigate those.

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