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Fireworks Regulations Reminder From Bethlehem Police Chief

With certain fireworks now legal in Pennsylvania, it does not mean you can use fireworks anytime and anywhere you want and in the “wee” hours of the morning. City residents and visitors are reminded to please use fireworks responsively and with consideration and respect to others, their property and pets. To make it simple, leave the firework displays to the professionals. Don’t blow yourself up and injure yourself or others.
Every summer, the Bethlehem Police Department and Bethlehem Fire Departments respond to numerous complaints of fireworks being set off late at night in City Parks, in the street or on private property. Fireworks are not toys and every year in the U.S., there are thousands of firework related injuries, even deaths.   
Fireworks also affect people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sudden loud bangs, explosions can cause PTSD symptoms to re-occur in people recovering from a traumatic event or military service. Please consider what you are doing and how it affects others. Be considerate and exercise common sense.
Please remember that when you set off fireworks, the noise travels for blocks in the City. Being woken up at 2:00 am by drunks setting off fireworks is “not acceptable.” Every year, Bethlehem Police respond to dozens of reports of firework upsetting people’s pets. Dogs in particular are affected by the loud noise and flashes, causing many to break leashes, panic, become disoriented, frightened and run. Cats also get very scared. Every year, we pick up numerous pets. Some we are able to identify owners for and some we are not.
Residents and visitors are reminded of Bethlehem City Ordinance, Article 746 and Pennsylvania State Law 72 Pa. C.S.A. 9401, on the use of fireworks in Bethlehem.
Here is a quick reminder of the Bethlehem Ordinance on Fireworks
1-Under Bethlehem City Ordinance, Section 746.03, fireworks cannot be set off between the hours of 9:00 PM and 9:00 AM without a permit….PERIOD.
2-Under Bethlehem City Ordinance, Section 746.04, owners of property in the City or tenants are responsible for unlawful firework activity at the property.
3-Under Bethlehem City Ordinance, Section 746.05, all fireworks are unlawful on any City property or City Parks.
NOTE: For violations of Article 746, you will be arrested and fines range from $50.00 to $1000.00 or 30 days imprisonment set by a County District Justice.
Here is a quick reminder of the Pennsylvania’s law on Fireworks
1 -You must be 18 years of age or older to purchase, possess & use consumer fireworks.
2 - Consumer fireworks cannot be used on public or private property without the express permission of the owner.
3- Consumer fireworks or sparkling devices cannot be used within, or thrown from, a motor vehicle or building or at a motor vehicle, building or person, or anyone under influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or another drug.
4 - Consumer fireworks cannot be used within 150 feet of any occupied structure, in the street, on the sidewalk or in Public Parks.
NOTE – For violations, you will be arrested for violation of the 72 Pa. C.S.A. 9401, Pennsylvania’s fireworks law and face fines and/or imprisonment as set by a County District judge.
You may think fireworks are “cool,” but your neighbors who have to work the next day, may not.
Remember the old saying, “it’s all fun and games til someone loses an eye”….well so very true.
Remember this one also “it’s all fun and games til you blow yourself up and the police and EMS have to pick you up and take you to the hospital.” That one is also very true ….happens every year.
So the morale of the story is, use “Common Sense” and if you are going to use fireworks, use them responsively and not between the hours of 9 pm and 9 am in the City of Bethlehem.
Thank You.