HOAs, Independence Day, and Fireworks

July 4th, Independence Day, one of the best days of the year – one that evokes vivid memories of families grilling and gathering, patriotic music playing, swimming and baseball and being outside, and, of course, fireworks! Fireworks are a staple of the 4th of July, with many towns and cities putting on professionally conducted displays for large gatherings of people. What could be more American than lighting off fireworks on the 4th of July and how could my HOA possibly be involved, you might ask.

The danger of fireworks in your HOA

Fireworks, and other incendiary displays, can be incredibly dangerous – especially for children and teenagers. Almost half of the injuries and fires reported to be from fireworks occur on the 4th of July.

Injuries range from burns to loss of limbs, and in some cases, death. Especially here in Colorado, where we live in a semi-arid environment, the danger of fire is very high, more so in the Summer months when the 4th of July rolls around as rain is increasingly scarce. Because of this, there are very strict rules and regulations throughout Colorado with regard to individuals setting off fireworks; most often by state and local rules, but also by HOA regulations.

As a general rule, most HOAs do not allow fireworks and/or defer to local regulations which forbid most types of fireworks.  Sparklers, fountains, and other hand-held flammable devices are sometimes allowed, but are generally discouraged. Ones that shoot or otherwise leave the ground are almost universally prohibited in Colorado either by state, local, or HOA rules.

So, if you are thinking of having your own private fireworks display, read the rules carefully – and be sure to include your local or HOA noise and/or quiet hours rules. If they are not banned outright, sometimes noise rules are a backdoor way to ban fireworks and other light and noise-making items.

Thinking of your neighbors

As a member of a community, another item to think about as you consider whether to set off your own fireworks, is how that will affect your neighbors.

While you may think it is no big deal to have your own backyard display, to others that may have a huge impact of their enjoyment of their personal space. The noise itself can scare pets and small children even if they are not in your immediate vicinity. Sound and light travel quickly and do not discriminate between those who enjoy fireworks and those who do not.

Furthermore, veterans and others who have experienced trauma can find the noise and lights to be very upsetting and triggering. For veterans who have served our nation, fireworks can turn an otherwise great day into one that brings on traumatic experiences.

So please, take this into considerations and refrain from setting off an impromptu fireworks display. Instead, go to your local firework display and enjoy!

Local veterans, your neighbors, and their pets will thank you for your consideration and everyone can enjoy one of America’s best and most unique holidays.