Mercer Island Rules & Regulations
Discharge of legal “safe and sane” fireworks is allowable one day only on July 4 from 11am to 11pm. Fireworks are prohibited in all parks and school district properties. Only legal devices may be used; a list of legal and illegal devices is posted to the City Fireworks Safety webpage (see below).
Ensure you are using legal fireworks by purchasing them from state-licensed stands. Fire crackers, bottle rockets, missiles, and rockets are not legal on Mercer Island. Fireworks are on sale in Mercer Island from June 28 to July 4 only. Or as an alternative, the City invites all residents to enjoy the professional fireworks show at the annual Summer Celebration Festival, held over the second full weekend of July.
The documents below have been produced by the Washington State Fire Marshal's Office and provide valuable information regarding the purchase and legal discharge of safe and sane fireworks:
Where They Can Be Used
- Fireworks are PROHIBITED in public parks except as part of a duly authorized public firework display (MICC 9.30.070).
- Fireworks are NOT ALLOWED on school property or at school sponsored events (MISD Policy #5114).
Legal and Illegal Fireworks
The following fireworks may be lawfully purchased, possessed or discharged by the public during the Independence Day Celebration (by ruling of the State Fire Marshal):
- SPARKLER: Stick or wire coated with pyrotechnic composition that produces a shower of sparks upon ignition.
- CYLINDRICAL FOUNTAIN: Cylindrical tubes containing pyrotechnic composition. Upon ignition, a shower of colored sparks and sometimes a whistling effect is produced. This device may be provided with a spike for insertion into the ground [spike fountain], a wood or plastic base for placing on the ground [base fountain], or a wood or cardboard handle if intended to be hand-held [handle fountain].
- CONE FOUNTAIN: Cardboard or heavy paper cone containing pyrotechnic composition. The effect is the same as that of a cylindrical fountain.
- ILLUMINATING TORCH: Cylindrical tube containing pyrotechnic composition. Upon ignition, colored fire is produced. May be spike, base, or hand-held.
- WHEEL: Pyrotechnic device attached to a post or tree by means of a nail or string. Each wheel may contain up to six driver units containing pyrotechnic composition. Upon ignition, the wheel revolves producing a shower of color and sparks and, sometimes, a whistling effect.
- GROUND SPINNERS: Small device similar to a wheel in design and effect, placed on the ground and ignited. A shower of sparks and color is produced by the rapidly spinning device.
- FLITTER SPARKLER: Narrow paper tube containing pyrotechnic composition which produces color and sparks upon ignition. This device does not have a fuse for ignition. The paper at one end of the tube is ignited to make the device function.
- MINE/SHELL: Heavy cardboard or paper tube attached to a wood or plastic base and containing pyrotechnic composition. Upon ignition, “stars” or other devices are propelled into the air. The tube remains on the ground.
- COMBINATION ITEMS: Firework devices containing a combination of two (2) or more of the effects described in this section.
- SMOKE DEVICE: Tube or sphere containing pyrotechnic composition which, upon ignition, produces white or colored smoke as the primary effect.
- HELICOPTER/AERIAL SPINNER: A tube containing pyrotechnic composition. A propeller or blade is attached which, upon ignition, lifts the rapidly spinning device into the air. A visible or audible effect is produced at the height of the flight.
- ROMAN CANDLE: Heavy paper or cardboard tube containing pyrotechnic composition. Upon ignition, up to ten “stars” [pellets of pressed pyrotechnic composition that burn with bright color] are individually expelled at several-second intervals.
The following fireworks are ILLEGAL to purchase, possess or discharge at any time in Washington State (by ruling of the State Fire Marshal):
- SKY ROCKET: Tubes that contain pyrotechnic composition. Sky rockets utilize a wooden stick for guidance and stability and rise into the air upon ignition. A burst of color or noise or both is produced at the height of flight.
- CHASER: Small paper or cardboard tube that travels along the ground upon ignition. A whistling effect or other noise is often produced.
- MISSILE-TYPE ROCKET: A device similar to a sky rocket in size, composition, and effect that uses fins rather than a stick for guidance.
- FIRE CRACKERS/SALUTES: Small, paper-wrapped or cardboard tube containing pyrotechnic composition. Upon ignition, noise and a flash of light are produced.
The State Fire Marshal urges all citizens to follow the following precautions when using fireworks:
Before you light fireworks: "Be Prepared!" Purchase only legal fireworks, available at approved stands. Talk with family members and guests about the laws for your area. Place pets indoors as they may become frightened. Keep a bucket of water nearby in which to place all used fireworks. Have a water hose or fire extinguisher nearby to put out stray sparks. Clear a level area away from things that can burn. Know the emergency number to call for your area, your address/location, and basic first aid. Teach your children to "stop, drop, and roll" if their clothes catch on fire.
When lighting fireworks: "Be Safe!" Set family boundaries. Have a designated adult light all fireworks. Do not allow young children to light fireworks. Use eye protection, wear safety goggles. Light one at a time, move away quickly, and keep at a safe distance until the display is finished. Use only outdoors, away from anything that can burn. To prevent injuries, never throw fireworks and never hold fireworks in your hand.
After you finish: "Be Responsible!" Clean up all debris when finished. Duds can be dangerous; if a device does not light or fire, an adult should wait at least fifteen minutes, approach it carefully, and place it in a bucket of water. Be sure all unused fireworks, matches and lighters are out of the sight and reach of children.
The Mercer Island Fire & Police Departments work in partnership to provide fireworks disposal services to the community.
Citizens who wish to dispose of fireworks should transport them to either Fire Station 91 (downtown), or to the Mercer Island Police Department at City Hall.
Do not store or transport fireworks in plastic bags as they can create static electricity which can result in an ignition source for the fireworks. Fireworks should be separated and stored in paper bags.
Do not put unused fireworks in water either. Due to the chemical make-up of the powder used in fireworks, putting old fireworks in water actually increases their instability and can result in premature and unexpected ignition.
For additional information, visit the Washington State Patrol/Fire Marshall's website which includes a safety video. For information specific to Mercer Island, contact the Mercer Island Fire Department at 206.275.7607.
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