Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

June 16, 2009


(202) 648-8500

ATF Promotes Fireworks Safety for Independence Day

PSA Available on YouTube at:

WASHINGTON — Fireworks and the Fourth of July celebrations go hand-in-hand. As we celebrate our nation’s independence, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) would like to remind you that illegal or improperly used fireworks can cause severe injuries or even death.

ATF is the federal law enforcement agency charged with enforcing federal explosives laws. ATF actively works with other federal agencies, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), through its fireworks enforcement program to prevent trafficking of illegal fireworks and to protect our citizens from the dangers of illegal explosive devices. Consumer fireworks are regulated by the CPSC and are legal only when permitted by state law. Fireworks laws and regulations vary. Get the facts from your fire department, police or sheriff.

ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson said, “Each year injuries or deaths are caused by misuse of fireworks or by handling illegal explosive devices. We encourage you to have a safe Fourth of July celebration by being an informed consumer.”

ATF wants to make sure that consumers are aware that legal consumer fireworks are marked with brightly colored and decorated paper and include a trade name, manufacturing information and come with instructions for safe use. However, consider all explosive materials hazardous. Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging, as this can often be a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.

Illegal explosive devices are not fireworks. Illegal explosive devices are small bombs that maim, blind and kill. These devices are commonly referred to as M-80s, ashcans, cherry bombs, silver salutes, quarter-sticks, M-100s and M-1000s and often come in plain brown or white wrappers, with no identifying marks. Explosive materials in illegal devices exceed the limit for common fireworks. The devices do not meet any safety or quality standards and are extremely dangerous and can be highly unstable. They can trigger accidental detonation and explode due to heat, shock, friction or pressure. People trafficking in illegal devices can go to federal prison for 10 years; some have been tried for murder

The public is urged to report the manufacture or sale of illegal fireworks or explosives devices to your local law enforcement agencies and by calling the toll-free ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662).

The ATF Fireworks PSA is available at:

More information about ATF and its programs is available at