Fireworks Safety

Pflugerville Fire / Travis Co ESD No.2

Every year around July 4th and New Year’s Eve, we are often asked the question, “Are fireworks legal around here?” The answer depends on where you are located!

In unincorporated Travis County outside of city limits, fireworks generally are legal, but THERE ARE SEVERAL LIMITATIONS, some of which are listed below. Call the the Sheriff’s dispatch number (512) 974-0845 then press OPTION 3 for fireworks issues in unincorporated Travis County.

  • Fireworks cannot be used on public roadways.
  • Fireworks cannot be used on school district property.
  • Fireworks cannot be used within 600 feet of any church, a licensed child-care center, a hospital, or a public or private school or higher-education facility unless the person received written permission from that organization.
  • Fireworks are illegal in Travis County parks.
  • Fireworks are illegal to use on Wells Branch Municipal Utility District (MUD) property, which includes all MUD facilities, parks, trails, greenbelts, the Pond, drainage detention areas, the veloway, and the grassy area located at Robert I. Walker and Charla Circle.
  • For all other properties, you must get written permission from the property owner to light any personal fireworks – even if it’s a commercial property not in use at nighttime.

Even where fireworks are legal, they are risky to use and cause many fires and injuries around the U.S.!  The safest legal way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional fireworks show, such as the Pfirecracker Pfestival in Pflugerville or the 4th Fest in Wells Branch. Here are a few other fireworks safety tips:

Make Fireworks a Family Activity

  • Before the holiday, make a point to discuss fireworks safety with everyone in your family to decrease the chance of someone getting hurt.
  • Never let children purchase fireworks without parents there — even older kids.
  • Insist on adult supervision whenever fireworks are being lit – even for older kids. Children age 10 to 14 years old actually receive the second-highest number of fireworks burns and injuries, right behind preschoolers and toddlers!
  • Kids who are younger than kindergarten-age should never be allowed to hold any fireworks on their own, including sparklers. Sparklers reach temperatures hot enough to melt metal. Give little kids glow-sticks instead! Pass the sparklers to much older kids and adults to carefully light ONE at a time – ideally wearing gloves. Check out this PSA from the Texas State Fire Marshal

Respect Vets, Pets, and Neighbors

  • Keep in mind that the sound of fireworks can be very stressful for some veterans and others who experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It also scares many dogs and other pets.
  • When a holiday falls on a weeknight, remember that most people will be getting up early the next day and go to work. Please respect your neighbors’ work schedule.
  • Fireworks are poisonous to pets. Be sure not to leave behind any used fireworks where pets (yours or someone else’s) spend time.
  • You must get written permission from the property owner to light any personal fireworks there – even if the property is currently vacant.

Preparing to Light Fireworks

  • Only light fireworks OUTSIDE on a flat surface that’s far from any homes or buildings. Don’t light fireworks near dry grass or leaves – you can catch them on fire.
  • Before you light a firework, take a good look around to be sure there aren’t any people or pets in range of possibly getting hurt.
  • Don’t lean over firework devices or place your hand over them when lighting. Immediately back up as far as you can after lighting! The body parts that suffer the most fireworks injuries are fingers, hands, eyes, face, and ears.

Safely Disposing of Fireworks

  • Don’t try to re-light fireworks that didn’t work on the first try!
  • Thoroughly soak all fireworks, even the ones that did not work, in a bucket of water or with a hose before putting in the trash.

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