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Fireworks

What Resources are Available?

Inspectors can be tasked with many different code concerns on fireworks.  This may includes the manufacture, storage, use in retail occupancies, and display shows and the various codes which apply.  Improper use of pyrotechnics can lead to disastrous results which was demonstrated in the Station Night Club fire.

Many inspectors are passionate about fireworks due to the many injuries, fires and potential of mishandled fireworks.  I know that this time of year, I receive multiple phone calls on what a person can use, sell, or store in various settings.

Many communities have local ordinances that govern the various aspects of fireworks and there are multiple codes which may have been adopted in a community to assist the code officials.  Some of the codes and standards include:

  • NFPA 1123, Fireworks Display; This Code provides requirements for outdoor fireworks displays, recommended permit regulations, and recommended regulations for state certification of display operators. It includes requirements on construction, handling, and use of fireworks intended for outdoor fireworks display.
  • NFPA 1124, Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, Storage, and Retail Sales of Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles; applies to the manufacture, transportation, and storage of fireworks, pyrotechnic articles, and any components containing pyrotechnic or explosive compositions. It also covers the distribution and retail sales of fireworks, but does not apply to the use of consumer fireworks by the general public.
  • NFPA 1126, Standard for the use of Pyrotechnics before a Proximate Audience; This Code provides requirements for outdoor fireworks displays, recommended permit regulations, and recommended regulations for state certification of display operators. It includes requirements on construction, handling, and use of fireworks intended for outdoor fireworks display.
  • NFPA 1, Chapter 65 Explosives, Model Rocketry and Fireworks; The storage, use, and handling of explosives, fireworks, and model rocketry shall comply with the requirements of this chapter, NFPA standards referenced within this chapter, and Section 60.1 and Section 60.2 of this Code.
  • IFC Chapter 33 Explosives and Fireworks; The provisions of this chapter shall govern the possession, manufacture, storage, handling, sale and use of explosives, explosive materials, fireworks and small arms ammunition.

When evaluating the request for use, display, or storage its important to follow these basic steps (a general list):

  1. Determine the local ordinance requirements and which standards may apply (verify state law as well),
  2. Ensure applicant has completed all of the application requirements including insurance requirements
  3. Based on the proposal, the applicant should properly define the intended use based on the various definitions in the adopted code or standard.
  4. The applicant should provide details on safe guards to ensure proper storage, use, and safety measures are in place.
  5. Review for code compliance
  6. Inspect and Follow-up

Departments which utilize online resources to house checklists for the community are a great avenue to communicate with your constituents.  Each form will vary because of the level of allowed use in the community.  For instance a community could ban all fireworks through local ordinance, some local communities do not have any authority because of state statue, or others follow the IFC provisions.

In 2008 , NFPA had a large debate on the protection standard for the sale of fireworks in a mercantile establishment.  This debate questioned the safety provisions found in NFPA 1124 and its ability to keep a fire involving consumer fireworks in check.  The Standards Council kept the standard in place although much work is needed to ensure the safety provisions can meet today’s demands from the storage of theses devices.

There are many examples from communities which demonstrate permits, checklists, and regulatory concerns.  Take a look at some of the resources below:

Resources

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Andrew Pieri June 23, 2009, 8:56 am

    I use a book called “Managing Fireworks Displays” by Ronald E. Kanterman.
    It is published by Delmar Learning.

  • Nick Markowitz Jr. June 24, 2009, 6:57 am

    Unfortunately Pa. has gone the exact opposite when it comes to fire works. what was once a state with strict enforcement rules since the ICC came into effect has allowed every store to carry any kind of quote consumer grade fire works with out any rules as to how much they have on display or how they are stored.Tents are going up in Gas stations lots.
    and the heavier stuff thou not legal to purchase can be given away at time of purchase of consumer stuff is bought. Neighboring NJ and other states have started Lawsuits against Pa. because of the amount of items now getting into there state since citizens can-now just cross border and fill there carts.
    Our legistlators will do nothing despite dramatic increases of injurys and accidental fires from fireworks they are solidly in bed woth the fire works industry and it is a dam shame.
    It is going to take an incident like in liberty OH where people have to die before something is done.

  • Nick Markowitz Jr. July 6, 2009, 6:12 am

    This holidays weekends toll of injurys and deaths has been significant.
    5 Professional fireworks shooters dead 4 in NC and one in Eastern Pa.
    We also had a man making home made fireworks in Mercer Pa critically injured and his home destroyed.

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