The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) stresses safety this Fourth of July.
Consumer fireworks, unless restricted by state or local laws, are fireworks which can be sold to the general public. Consumer fireworks cannot contain more than 50 milligrams (ground devices) or 130 milligrams (aerial devices) of flash powder. In addition, the aerial shells cannot exceed 1 ¾ inch.
Consumer fireworks generally have colorful packaging and appealing names. Any fireworks that exceed these limits are classified as display fireworks and require anyone importing, manufacturing, dealing in, or otherwise receiving display fireworks have an ATF license or permit.
Legal fireworks are marked with brightly colored and decorated paper and include a trade name and manufacturing information. Illegal explosive devices – commonly referred to as M-80s, quarter sticks, or cherry bombs – often come in plain brown or white wrappers with no identifying marks. Illegal explosive devices meet neither safety nor quality standards, and are extremely dangerous even when not being used. These devices can be highly unstable due to heat, shock, or pressure that can trigger accidental detonation.
According to the CPSC, in 2013, there were eight deaths and an estimated 11,400 consumers who sustained injuries related to fireworks.
The CPSC provides the following safety tips when using fireworks:
• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
• Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
For more information click on the link included with this story.