The use of personal fireworks is now officially verboten on publicly owned property in Arlington.
The policy change was tucked away in a broader County Board action Nov. 14 that updates for the first time in three years the Arlington County Fire Prevention Code.
“Each year, multiple complaints are generated due to persons igniting fireworks on public streets and in parks,” county staff member Casey Bailey wrote in a staff report to County Board members, providing staff rationale for the change.
The report also pointed to potential liability issues if there is not a specific prohibition in place on fireworks on public land (even if such a measure would be largely unenforceable in some cases).
Revisions to the fire-prevention code (Chapter 8.1 of the Code of Arlington) incorporate a number of changes in the recently updated Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, which itself is revised based on changes to the International Fire Code, which is updated every three years.
In Virginia, localities are empowered to add more stringent requirements than are incorporated into the state fire code, but are not allowed to lessen the requirements of the state code.
Among other fire-code additions made by County Board members at their Nov. 14 meeting:
• Certain members of the fire-marshal staff will be provided police powers and the ability to carry firearms in connection with their duties.
• It will now formally be unlawful for anyone to intentionally obstruct or block the path of an Arlington County Fire Department vehicle in commission of its duties.
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