Fireworks legal for consumer use are sold at licensed fireworks stands during the 4th of July Holiday and the New Year Holiday. Licensed fireworks stands can, by law, only sell fireworks labeled as Consumer Fireworks.
All legal consumer fireworks packed for sale in the State of Washington have to meet seven main requirements, according to State Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy.
1. Must have a warning label on the box and on the item. The warning label has two components.
— Signal Word: This is designed to attract the user’s attention that the information is important and should be read. It will contain either “WARNING” or “CAUTION.”
— Statement of Hazard: The statement of hazard is designed to warn the user of the specific aspect of the item’s operation that may result in the potential for injury. A statement of hazard includes statements such as: Flammable, Shoots flaming balls with reports, Spins on ground, Emits showers of sparks.
2. Must have instructions for use and necessary safety precautions to be observed.
3. Must have labeling with the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, distributor, or seller.
4. Must have the name of the Country of Manufacture.
5. Must have the United States Department of Transportation designation as "Division 1.4G Consumer Fireworks" or "Division 1.3G Special Fireworks." There is a significant difference between fireworks marked “Division 1.4G Consumer Fireworks” or “Division 1.3G Special Fireworks.” Division 1.3G Special Fireworks are also referred to as Commercial Grade or Professional Display Fireworks.
6. Must have label wording prominently located, in the English language, and in conspicuous and legible type in contrast by typography, layout, or color with the printed matter on the fireworks device or container.
7. Must have packaging — bright, colorful paper.
Top signs that your fireworks may be illegal:
— They weren’t purchased from a licensed fireworks stand.
— They aren’t packaged in bright colors and have safety warnings on the packaging.
— The packaging doesn’t indicate the country of manufacture.
— It’s not wrapped in bright colorful paper, typically wrapped with plain brown paper.
— It’s a solid red, silver or brown in color.
— It resembles a roll of coins with a fuse coming out the side.
— If it looks homemade:wrapped in electrical tape or fuse isn’t taped down.
— The person selling you the fireworks tells you they bought it in another state because of Washington fireworks laws.
Don’t take any chances, Duffy cautions.
“Stay away from high powered illegal explosive devices such as M80’s or homemade devices. While the 4th of July happens only once a year, these devices can cause a life altering injury that can last you a lifetime," he said.
Remember the three B’s of Fireworks: Be Prepared! Be Safe! Be Responsible! If you know where illegal explosive devices are being sold, manufactured or possessed, report it to the Bureau of Alcohol Firearms and Explosives or the local police department on a non-emergency phone number. Only call 9-1-1 to report emergencies.