- Obtain a letter of recommendation from your department head or team leader, provided on departmental letterhead.
- Complete the VATF-2 SCS student application and follow the instructions on the form for payment and submission
- Complete the VDFP scholarship application
- Submit the VDFP scholarship application and the letter of recommendation to Chad Riddleberger, Division Chief of Heavy Technical Rescue
State Fire Marshal’s Office Urges Virginians to Leave Fireworks to the Professionals
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RICHMOND (June 29, 2023) - The Virginia Department of Fire Programs-State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) reminds Virginians ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend that the possession of and selling illegal fireworks is a criminal offense – leave fireworks to the professionals.
In general, any firework that explodes, moves on the ground or in the air, or shoots a projectile is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Many localities prohibit the sale, possession or use of all fireworks. The State Fire Marshal’s Office advises Virginians to check local ordinances as well as the Statewide Fire Prevention Code prior to purchasing and utilizing fireworks.
“The safest way to celebrate the holiday with fireworks is to attend a professional show,” said Billy Hux, State Fire Marshal. “Improperly handling fireworks can result in catastrophic outcomes including fires and severe injuries.”
Only “permissible fireworks,” as defined in the Code of Virginia, can be legally sold, possessed or used within the Commonwealth. A list of permissible fireworks can be viewed on the VDFP website.
The sale, possession and/or use of any fireworks not classified as permissible is prohibited. Violations can be prosecuted as a Class I Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,500 and/or up to one (1) year in jail. Any illegal fireworks can be confiscated and you can be summoned by a Fire Marshal or Law Enforcement Officer.
If you decide to use permissible fireworks, please follow these important safety procedures:
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap. Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move quickly away from the fireworks device.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water before discarding.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
- Consider safe alternatives to fireworks such as party poppers, bubbles, silly string, or glow sticks.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office will be working over the holiday to ensure the safety of Virginia’s residents and visitors.
For more firework safety tips and information about using fireworks in the Commonwealth, visit the State Fire Marshal’s Guide to Fireworks in the Commonwealth – Virginia Department of Fire Programs (vafire.com).
Guide to Fireworks in the Commonwealth
Many local jurisdictions prohibit the use of all fireworks. Check with your locality to determine any local regulations.
In accordance with Section §27-96.1 of the Code of Virginia, unless prohibited by a local ordinance, the provisions of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code pertaining to fireworks shall not apply to the sale of or to any person using, igniting, or exploding permissible fireworks on private property with the consent of the owner of such property.
The fireworks listed in the 2023 Virginia Permissible Fireworks List have been field tested to compare the items to the performance criteria of the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory (AFSL) and are classified as "permissible fireworks" for purposes of applying and enforcing the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. The requirements for the sale or use of other than permissible fireworks, including certification and permit requirements, can be found in Chapter 56 of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/document/1360/14583684).
CAUTION: Code of Virginia §27.97 allows local jurisdictions to adopt fire prevention regulations that are more restrictive or more extensive in scope than the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. Many local jurisdictions prohibit the use of all fireworks. Individuals should check with their city, county or town to determine any local regulations.
Click the graphics below to download and share on social media. Remember the only safe way to celebrate is by attending public displays. Leave fireworks to the professionals!
The Purpose of the Permissible Fireworks List
Each year countless Virginians are injured or worse due to fireworks. Pictured below is the State Fire Marshal's Office annual field testing of fireworks to compare the items to the performance criteria of the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory (AFSL) and are classified as "permissible fireworks" for purposes of applying and enforcing the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. These tests make sure only code compliant consumer grade fireworks are bought/sold in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Firework safety tips
The only safe way to view fireworks is by attending public displays and leaving the lighting of fireworks to the professionals.
- Purchase only legal fireworks available at approved stands. Never craft your own fireworks or combine multiple fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby in which all used fireworks can be placed.
- Know the laws for your specific locality as local jurisdictions may adopt fire prevention regulations that are more restrictive or extensive in scope than the Statewide Fire Prevention Code.
Be Safe While Using
- Use eye protection, wear safety goggles.
- Always read and follow the directions on the label.
- Never point fireworks at people, pets, cars or buildings.
- Do not use fireworks near tall dry grassy fields, combustible materials or wooded areas.
- Do not use under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
Disposal of Fireworks
- After you finish — clean up all debris when finished. Duds (fireworks that didn't function) can be dangerous; if a device does not light or fire, an adult should wait at least 15 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.
- Dispose of fireworks properly. Soak them completely in water before putting them in the trash can.
- Monitor the area for several hours after using fireworks.
Virginia Fallen Firefighters & EMS Memorial Service Scheduled for June 3
Annual service to be held in the Exhibition Hall at the Richmond Raceway Complex
- Gary C. Campbell - Spotsylvania County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management
- TyVaughn N. Eldridge - Chesterfield Fire and EMS
- Christopher G. Griffin - City of Norfolk Fire Rescue
- Robert W. Nelms - Fries Fire and Rescue
- Jeffrey T. Rizzo - Loudoun County Fire Rescue
- Kimberly A. Schoppa - Fairfax County Fire and Rescue
- James A. Sturgill - Pound Volunteer Fire Department
- Gregory V. Thomas - City of Danville Fire Department
- Michael W. Webb - Callaway Volunteer Fire Department
- Herbert T. Wilcox - Rocky Mount Fire Departmen
For those who cannot attend in person, the Virginia Fallen Firefighters and EMS Memorial Service will also be streamed live on VDFP’s social media and website: www.vafire.com.