Fireworks Safety – How to Properly Select Fireworks

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 21,953
    Fireworks expert Julie Heckman discusses how to safely and properly select fireworks.

    Julie Heckman

    Julie L. Heckman is the Executive Director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, the leading trade association of the fireworks industry in the United States. Julie directs the overall regulatory affairs of the APA, including the Association’s Safety Program. She is frequently cited in the media (doing some 300 interviews a year) relating to her expertise in fireworks safety, consumer products and hazardous materials regulations as well as other fireworks-related issues. Julie has spent nearly 20 years in the fireworks industry. She has traveled internationally to Canada, Hong Kong, China, Italy, Japan, Germany and Spain to share her passion for fireworks and expertise with other fireworks organizations and industry leaders. As a professional and a mother, her passion has been focused in recent years in advocating the safe use of fireworks especially when children are present. She believes all fireworks injuries are preventable and the injuries that do occur are related to carelessness, misuse or lack of parental supervision. Julie received her Bachelors degree in Paralegal Studies from the College of Mt. St. Joseph, Cincinnati, OH. She lives and works in Bethesda, Maryland.

    Julie Heckman: Hi! I am Julie Heckman, Executive Director of the American Pyrotechnics Association. Today, we are talking about firework safety. I am going to show you now how to go through proper fireworks selection and cover the packaging, warnings, and instructions for use. As you can see, fireworks come in a variety of different colors and shapes. These items are all beautifully packaged and will contain instructions for use and cautionary labels. These items may be sold individually or in larger assortment packs. For example, if we look at this particular device, it is a glittering fountain and it is going to emit a shower of sparks. It tells us to only use under close adult supervision, to use it outdoors and to place it on a flat leveled surface.

    All of these items that are brightly covered and packaged are available in retail stores throughout the United States. Typically, we see stands and roadside tents that are open during the 4th of July period, but believe it or not fireworks is big business and now consumer fireworks are available in superstores, they are in Big-box stores and they are even at your local grocery store. An important thing to know is you want to make certain you are buying fireworks from a reliable dealer. All of these dealers or venues will have a license or a permit. So, you can feel confident, if you are going into a traditional store that you are buying product that's legally for sale. What you want to avoid is buying anything that is unlabelled or unmarked such as this. This is a device that is designed for the professional display market. These are extremely powerful and dangerous if they are not handled by a trained professional, so you want to avoid them.

    You need to be very careful to avoid devices such as illegal explosives. Here are two examples, these devices are made with simple cardboard tubes and contains volatile flash powder. They have hot glue on the ends and just simple fuses. These are extremely dangerous and deadly. We encourage the public, if you come into contact with these, to please call your local authority. As you can see with the variety of selection of legal fireworks available today, we encourage you to take advantage of all those products on the marketplace at your local retailer. Next, we are going to talk about how to select the proper site for using your fireworks safely.