DOB Advises NYers From Harlem To Hollis To Stay Safe Sound During Fourth Of July Fire Works

July 2, 2021

The Department of Buildings today is reminding all property owners and tenants of safety regulations for the use of rooftops, terraces, balconies, and fire escapes in New York City.

These regulations apply all year long, but are particularly relevant this holiday weekend, as New Yorkers look for vantage points to view the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks display, which is scheduled for this Sunday evening.

Unauthorized use of building roofs and fire escapes have tragically led to several fatal falls in New York City in recent years.

“This year’s fireworks celebration will have special resonance for New Yorkers as we continue to make our way out of the pandemic, and life returns to normal in our city. We want everyone to have a safe and happy Fourth of July – but to do that, New Yorkers need to make sure they select an appropriate place to view the fireworks,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “We encourage building owners to communicate to their tenants that areas like unsecured rooftops and fire escapes are not safe places to gather.”


Property owners and tenants should observe the following safety rules:

  • Do not access building rooftops to watch the fireworks, unless the rooftop has an approved deck or other approved space for gatherings, equipped with code-compliant guardrails, multiple emergency exits, signage indicating the maximum legal occupancy, and other required safety features.
  • Do not gather to watch the fireworks on fire escapes, which are not designed nor meant to be used as a balcony. For the safety of everyone in the building, fire escapes must be kept free of obstructions at all times.
  • Do not overcrowd terraces, balconies, or legal rooftop spaces. Overcrowding these spaces can pose a serious hazard.
  • Do not prop open emergency doors or disable door alarms leading to rooftop areas of a building that are not meant to be legally occupied. Unsecured rooftop spaces can pose a serious danger to building occupants, especially children.
  • Do not lean out of a window, over an edge, a parapet wall, or over a railing for a better view of the fireworks display.
  • Avoid approaching any building edge that is not protected by a wall or railing.

Property owners are legally obligated to maintain their properties in safe conditions.

New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report unsafe building conditions to the Department, and call 911 to report emergencies.


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