Officials remind beachgoers that most fireworks are illegal

If you’re heading to the beach this Fourth of July, it’s best to leave the fireworks to the professionals.

In both Maryland and Delaware, fireworks are illegal. Delaware even bans sparklers, though they are permitted in Ocean City as long as they are hand-held.

In Ocean City, novelty fireworks such as Snap-N-Pops, Black Cobra Snakes and Party Poppers are also permitted, but city officials encourage adult supervision.

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, police are expecting an increased call load related to fireworks.

"We definitely do see an increase in fireworks being set off around this time of year," said Ocean City Communications Manager Jessica Waters. "While it's all good and fun to watch, it could be potentially unsafe if you're not trained to set them off."

Waters said fireworks are not only illegal, but unsafe. Those found in possession of or distributing illegal fireworks could face criminal charges and fines up to $1,000.

In 2011, fireworks nationwide caused an estimated 17,800 fires, resulting in 40 injuries and $32 million in property damage.

"On Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for two out of five of all reported fires, which is more than any other cause of fire," said Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley. "In addition to causing damage, fireworks can cause injuries and we want people to be safe during their holiday stay in Ocean City."

As usual, the city will set off two firework displays this year: one at the Inlet and one at Northside Park on 125th Street. Both events start at dusk.

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