INDIANAPOLIS — Independence Day is less than a week away and the sounds of the season will return to Indiana neighborhoods.
Here's your annual reminder of when you - or your overly festive neighbor - are allowed to light fireworks.
Statewide, it is legal to set off fireworks from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m., though those hours could be adjusted by local ordinances.
Starting June 29 and running through July 9, the state allows fireworks from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset (roughly 11:15 p.m.) and those hours cannot be limited by local laws. Carmel, for instance, allows fireworks to be set off until midnight from June 29-July 9 and Greenwood permits fireworks within city limits through July 11, though the city abides by the state's sunset limit.
On July 4, the state-allowed fireworks hours start at 10 a.m. and go until midnight.
If you observe someone setting off fireworks outside the legal times, you are encouraged to contact your local police department's non-emergency number (dial 311 on a cell phone). Emergency dispatchers say July 4 is the busiest day of the year for calls to 911.
Fines for violating fireworks ordinances vary by location, so it's important to check your local ordinance before celebrating. For example, it's a $50 fine in Indianapolis and up to $300 in fines for repeated violations in Whitestown.
Fireworks are legal for purchase only by those over the age of 18. According to the state's website, "Fireworks use is limited to personal property, the property of someone who has approved the use of fireworks or at a location designated specifically for the use of consumer fireworks."
Also, the state notes that the use of "sky lanterns" are not allowed to be lit without a tether that keeps them from lifting into the atmosphere.
Fireworks safety reminders
Doctors are reminding everyone to keep children a safe distance from all fireworks.
Even though sparklers are fun, they're not the safest option for your children. They can actually burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Be sure to keep a bucket of water close by when setting off fireworks. The water can be used to douse sparklers, as well, since they can stay hot for a long period of time after the spark fades away.
Also, never set off fireworks in your hand. Place them in a non-metal or glass container when lighting them.