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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF News
For Immediate Release:
Neeta Sullivan

29, 2000

Fireworks Safety

- Americans who celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks can have a
safe and happy holiday by observing a few simple precautions. First, make
sure fireworks are legal in your state and can be set off in your city
or county.

should be purchased from vendors who operate openly and welcome visits
by fire departments and police. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
(ATF) Director Bradley A. Buckles recommends that you "Don't purchase
fireworks from people who approach you on the street. Too often they sell
deadly, illegal explosive devices that may explode prematurely in your
hand or pocket."

On a
personal level, the most important thing is to assume leadership among
family and friends. Make sure they are safe. Discourage foolishness with
fireworks -- and never mix alcohol and explosives.

The Consumer
Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates Class-C common fireworks that
are legal in some States. These fireworks contain a trace of pyrotechnic
material, are labeled Class-C, identify the producer, and come with safety
precautions. CPSC reported that fireworks injured more than 7,500 people
last year.*

year numerous injuries are attributed to fireworks caused by small illegal
explosive devices with names like M-80, quarterstick, ashcan, and M-1000.

The devices
traffickers tout as fireworks are actually small, unstable bombs that
sometimes blow up in the hands of unwary buyers.

A typical
illegal explosive device resembles a roll of coins with a fuse:

- is
a cardboard tube filled with explosive material;

- is 1 to 6 inches long and up to 6 inches diameter;

- is red, silver, or brown in color;

- has green, red, or blue fuse;
- sells for
$1 to $5 or whatever buyers will pay.

explosive devices meet neither safety nor quality standards and are usually
coated with explosive dust. Friction, heat or a bump can cause them to
detonate. Each year, ATF finds and destroys hundreds of thousands of the

citizens can play an important role in curbing the pain caused by illegal
explosive devices," Buckles said. The Director invited the public to help
expose traffickers of the illegal devices by calling their local ATF office.**

All explosives
present a risk, including legal fireworks. ATF investigates explosives
incidents in cooperation with State and local enforcement agencies. For
more information on ATF, visit the ATF Web site at