Sheriff Office Offers Fireworks Facts; Sparkling Devices Are Legal - All Others Are Illegal

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol is reminding residents that ground-based or handheld sparkling devices are the only types of fireworks that are legal to use in Oneida County. A 2014 change in New York State Penal Law and 2016 Oneida County Local Law allows for the sale and use of only a specific category of consumer fireworks known as “Sparkling Devices”. All other fireworks are still illegal in New York State. Sparkling Devices are ground based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise, and smoke. The law limits the type, size, and construction of Sparkling Devices and requires that these devices must be handheld or mounted on a base or spike and be limited in sizes that range from 1 to 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition. The sale and use of these sparkler devices are only permitted in Oneida County on or between June 1st and July 5th and December 26th and January 2nd and can only be purchased by those over the age of 18.

Typically, this time of year, law enforcement agencies in the county, including the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, see an increase in the number of fireworks related complaints. Nearly all the complaints involve the use of Illegal fireworks that are not allowed under the local law. Illegal fireworks typically are those that are lit or ignited from the bottom and produce explosion sounds, rise into the air, and then explode, or project into the air. Examples of illegal fireworks include firecrackers, M80’s, flaming balls, bottle rockets, mortars, spinners, and roman candles. These types of illegal fireworks are in violation of the NYS Penal Law section 270.00 (class B misdemeanor) and depending on the time of day, can also be in violation of local municipal noise ordinances.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind residents that they can report illegal fireworks related complaints via the non-emergency phone line (315-736-0141) for the law enforcement agency that primarily patrols their neighborhood.

Even when using the legal sparkler devices, there is still danger involved and precautions are needed.


• Always follow the directions located on the packaging

• All sparklers are for outdoor use only, never use indoors

• Always wear eye protection when using sparklers

• Never light more than one sparkler at a time

• Never point a sparkler tube towards anyone or any part of your body

• Keep sparklers and novelty devices in a safe secure location when not in use

• Never use sparklers when under the influence of alcohol or drugs

• Always keep an approved fire extinguisher nearby during a display

• Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.

• Douse malfunctioning and spent devices with water before discarding them to prevent a fire

• Purchase sparklers and novelty devices from NY State registered retailers


• Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 F

• It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy or use sparklers in NY State

•Reports also show there were an estimated 10,200 fireworks-related injuries in 2022. 73 percent of those injuries occurred during the one month surrounding the July 4th holiday.

• Adults 25 to 44 years of age experienced about 36 percent of the estimated injuries, and children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 28 percent of the estimated injuries

•The parts of the body most often injured by fireworks were hands and fingers (an estimated 29 percent of injuries) along with head, face, and ears (an estimated 19 percent); legs (an estimated 19 percent); and eyes (an estimated 16 percent)

•Burns were the most frequently estimated type of injury, making up 38% of all emergency department-treated fireworks injuries

• Sparklers and certain novelty devices are the only consumer fireworks that are legal in certain parts of NY State. Learn more at: