Explosives Storage Requirements - Storage Safety

What's in This Document

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Storage Safety

Storage Within Type-1, -2, -3 and -4 Magazines

  • Explosives containers must not be placed directly against an interior wall for ventilation reasons.

  • Explosives containers must be stored so that identifying marks are visible and easy to read.

  • Metal containers must not be unpacked or repacked inside the magazine or within 50 feet of magazine.

  • Tools for opening and closing containers must be non-sparking and may not be stored in magazines.

  • Smoking, matches, open flames, and spark-producing devices are not permitted in any magazine, in any room containing an indoor magazine, or within 50 feet of any outdoor magazine.


  • Battery-activated safety lights/lanterns may be used in explosives magazines.

  • Electric lighting must meet the standards prescribed by the National Electrical Code (NEC).

  • All electrical switches must be located on the outside of the magazine.

  • Documentation that lighting complies with NEC must be available for inspection by ATF.


  • Interior must be clean, dry, and free of grit, paper, and empty packages and containers.

  • Floors must be regularly swept.

  • Utensils used to clean magazine must have no spark-producing metal parts and may be stored in magazine.

  • Exterior must be clear of rubbish, brush, dry grass, or small trees (except live trees more than 10 feet tall) within 25 feet of the magazine.

  • All volatile materials must be kept more than 50 feet from the magazine.

  • Live foliage which is used to stabilize the earthen covering of a magazine need not be removed.

Repair of Magazines

Prior to repairing the interior or exterior of any magazine where sparks or flame may be produced, all explosive materials:

  • Must be removed and placed in appropriate magazines while repairs are being made; or

  • Placed a safe distance away from the magazine under repair and properly guarded and protected until repairs are completed.

Quality & Storage Restrictions

When calculating explosives weight, include the actual quantity of explosive material contained in a product, excluding inert shell casing, the box, container, or other packaging. Most packaged explosives are marked with the net weight of explosive materials on the unit, container, or box, however, a scale may be used for accurate measurements of the actual weight to the extent possible.

  • Outdoor Magazines:

    • No more than 300,000 pounds of explosive materials in one magazine.

    • No more than 20 million detonators in one magazine.

    • Additional amounts are not allowed unless approved by the Director of ATF.

  • Indoor Magazines:

    • Cannot exceed 50 pounds of total explosives in one or more magazines inside of one structure.

    • No indoor magazine may be located in residence or dwelling.

Reporting Fire to Local Fire Authorities

Persons storing explosive materials must notify the authority having jurisdiction for fire safety in the locality where the explosive materials are stored. This notification should include the type, magazine capacity, and location of each site where the explosive materials are being stored. Notification must be made orally before the end of the day on which storage commences, and in writing within 48 hours from the time such storage commenced. The authority having jurisdiction for fire safety is typically the local fire department. The following website is provided as an effort to assist individuals in determining who the local authority having jurisdiction for fire safety is for their area.

Last Reviewed July 23, 2020