With the adoption of a new fireworks ordinance, Richland County Council is introducing major changes to the county’s fireworks laws.
County council passed the ordinance March 7 with residents and businesses in mind, aiming to prevent negligence and mitigate loss or injury from the use of fireworks. With the updated ordinance, which takes effect July 1:
• Using, discharging, shooting or igniting fireworks or similar explosives in unincorporated parts of Richland County between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am is unlawful and will be considered a violation of the ordinance. Two exceptions apply: On January 1 and July 5, fireworks can be used until 1 am in celebration of New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July.
• The use of fireworks near schools and churches is restricted. Using or discharging them within 600 feet of a school or church without prior authorization, aside from private property, violates the ordinance.
Richland County has released a public service announcement about the changes on the County’s YouTube page.
“We care about the citizens of Richland County, and we want to ensure safety in the communities we serve while not interfering with anyone’s enjoyment or recreation,” said Derrek Pugh, District 2 County councilman.
The ordinance makes it unlawful to:
• Negligently, recklessly or intentionally direct the discharge of fireworks toward a structure, animal or person
• Intentionally detonate fireworks upon the land of another person without express prior consent
• Intentionally dump, throw, drop, deposit, discard or otherwise fire onto another’s property without express prior consent
• Offer for sale or sell fireworks to children younger than 16, unless they are accompanied by a parent
• Ignite or detonate fireworks within a motor vehicle or discharge them from a vehicle
• Place or throw an ignited firework into a motor vehicle
Penalties for violations range from up to $500 for a first offense to as much as $1,000 for a third offense.
In 2021, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,500 fireworks-related injuries, and at least nine people died from incidents involving fireworks, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Young adults are injured by fireworks at a disproportionate rate.