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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF News

For Immediate Release
FY 99-8
Contact: Art Resnick
Date: June 15, 1999


Fireworks Safety Tips

Washington--Safety tips from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
(ATF). ATF regulates explosives and investigates explosives crimes.

> Consider all explosives materials hazardous. This includes fireworks.
Each year thousands of injuries are linked to fireworks.

> Fireworks laws and ordinances vary from State to State. the facts
from your fire department, police, or sheriff.

> Legal fireworks businesses are open to local, State, and Federal
inspectors. Items should be clearly marked Class-C common fireworks,
list the maker, and come with instructions for safe use.

> Traffickers of illegal explosive devices try to avoid police. Items
they sell meet no safety standards and sometimes explode spontaneously.

> Store fireworks in a cool, dry place not accessible to youngsters.
Avoid rough handling.

> Kids and fireworks can be a volatile mix. Adults should supervise.

> Only light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from anything
that might catch fire. Keep water handy.



> Light one firework at a time, then move away to a safe distance.

> Douse fireworks that fizzle with water. Don't reliqht. Soak leftover
items and discard wet.

> Avoid trouble and tragedy:

- Never light fireworks in bottles, cans.

- Never cut or take apart fireworks.

- Never add ingredients to fireworks.

Legal Fireworks

Class-C common fireworks regulated by the Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) are legal only when permitted by State law.
Class-C fireworks produce small, visible effects and contain less than
two grains of a pyrotechnic composition (7,000 grains per pound). The
words "Class-C common fireworks" and the maker's name must be visible
on each package.

Illegal Explosive Devices

Illegal devices are not fireworks. Illegal devices are small bombs
that maim blind, and kill.

Some street names for the devices are M-80, ashcan, cherry-bomb, silver
salute, quarterstick, M-100 and M-1000. Traffickers sell the devices
to unwary buyers.

Explosive material in illegal devices exceeds the limit for common
fireworks. The devices do not meet any quality standards and can explode
due to heat, friction, or pressure. Some production sites discovered
by ATF agents are so polluted with volatile chemicals they cannot be
cleaned up and have to be burned.

People trafficking in illegal devices can go to Federal prison for
10 years. Some have been tried for murder.

For more information on ATF, visit the ATF Web site at






This was last updated on June 16, 1999