Even the ATF cares about fireworks use

KELOLAND.com Original
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The bigger the bang the more likely it’s illegal.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) illegal explosive devices are often manufactured and used during the fireworks season. The AFT investigates the use and manufacture of illegal explosive devices.

Most consumer fireworks available around the July 4 include “some small devices designed to produce audible effects, ground devices containing 50 milligrams or less of flash powder, and aerial devices containing 130 milligrams or less of flash powder,” the ATF said on its website.

Illegal fireworks such as a M80 have much more flash powder.

Various firework or polytechnic websites advise against using illegal fireworks, because they are illegal and because they’re dangerous.

Banned fireworks include M80s, Silver Salutes, or M100s, and Cherry Bombs. Those were legal until 1966 when the federal Child Protection Act banned them. Those are illegal in every state.

Legal fireworks may be dangerous enough, according to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the National Safety Council and the ATF.

The cancellation of July 4 public fireworks displays in cities and communities has caused projections that public use of fireworks could increase this summer during the coronavirus pandemic.

UC Davis Health and Orlando Health are among the organizations predicting increased fireworks sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Media have reported complaints about fireworks in cities such as Green Bay, Wisconsin and Dubuque, Iowa, are reporting increases in noise and other complaints related to fireworks.

Samuel Clemens, the public information officer for the Sioux Falls Police Department, said the city had five fireworks complaints on June 29, nine on the 28th and 13 on the 27th. That’s slightly more than in 2019.

Sioux Falls fireworks complaints 2019Sioux Falls fireworks complaints 2020
June 27 – 5 June 27 – 13
June 28 5June 28 – 9
June 29 7June 29 – 5

The ATF, CPSC and the National Safety council want the public to use legal fireworks safely.

Fireworks causes an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in an emergency room in 2019, according to the CPSC’s 2019 Annual Fireworks Report. That was an increase from the 9,100 reported in 2018.

There were 12 non-occupational fireworks related deaths in 2019, according to the CPSC.

Bob Weaver wrote on his FireworksLand website that the loud bang that may attract users to illegal fireworks isn’t worth the risk of harm. It’s also not worth the potential legal consequences, he said.

The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) advises the public to notify local law enforcement or fire departments if they find one of those explosives and to contact the ATF immediately if they know of someone making or selling the illegal explosives.

Most manufacturers or users don’t have the skills or knowledge to use such powerful explosives, according to the ATF. The illegal devices are also very sensitive to shock, to heat and other factors which makes them very dangerous.

The illegal M80 is an explosive used by the military to simulate gunfire. It has about three milligrams of explosive material, according to the ATF.

An illegal M80 is about an 1 1/2 inches in length and red in color, according to the APA.

An illegal Cherry Bomb is 1 inches in diameter. Similar-looking, legal devices that produce a stream of smoke will be clearly marked as a “Toy Smoke Device.” Smoke devices will not be red, according to the APA. A Cherry Bomb is illegal if it has more than 50 milligrams of explosive powder, according to the FireworksLand website.

Illegal Silver Salutes, or M100s, are silver and up to two inches in length and the fuse can enter either side of the tube, according to the APA. They have up to nine-grams of explosive material , according to the ATF.

The ATF also lists M250 and M1000s as illegal explosives. The M250 has about 13 grams of explosive material and the M1000 has about 25 to 30 grams of explosive material.

Although women have been injured or killed with fireworks use, more men are likely to be injured or killed in a fireworks incident, according to the CPSC’s 2019 annual report. Per 100,000 individuals males were roughly twice as likely to be injured by fireworks than women.

Most of the injured men were between 25-44 years of age.

State and local ordinances on fireworks will vary from state to state and even city to city.

In Sioux Falls, the only allowable fireworks are sparklers, snakes and other fireworks that do not have audible report, projectile or launching component, according to the city’s website.

No matter what the type of legal fireworks, the APA, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the National Safety Council and others all advise the public to use fireworks safely and to follow all fireworks ordinances where they live.

Even what seems to be the most tame firework can be dangerous.

Sparklers, the hand held light sticks that burn a bright spark, can heat up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to University of California Davis Health.

From June 21 to July 21, 2019, sparklers caused 12% of all injuries, according to the CPSC 2019 Annual Fireworks Report. Sparklers were part of the 24% of all injuries not caused by firecrackers or rockets.

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