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Consumer Fireworks

Consumer fireworks are fireworks sold to the general public for use. They are generally weaker in explosive power compared to professional displays.

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Don't look now but it's silly season once again.

  • Jun 20, 2010
  • by

Well the 4th of July will be here before you know it and that means lots of people will be spending some of their hard earned dough on backyard consumer fireworks.  Even as a kid I could never understand the mentality.  Aside from being a colossal waste of money I was taught that fooling around with fireworks is extremely dangerous and that every year in cities and towns all across America thousands of children and adults get seriously injured and even killed in fireworks mishaps.  In fact,  according to the Consumer Products Safety Commision about 7,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2008 for injuries associated with fireworks.  More than half of these injuries were burns and most of the injuries involved the hands, eyes, and legs.  Here in 2010 more than half of the states completely prohibit or severely restrict the use of consumer fireworks.  But at the same time there are 22 states that permit the sale of all or most types of consumer fireworks to residents.  That just makes no sense to me at all. I just might find myself in the minority on this issue but for once I think my home state of Rhode Island has got it right.  The sale and use of consumer fireworks are totally banned in this state.  I guess it's a cultural thing depending on the part of the country in which you reside but for the life of me I have absolutely no idea why these things are permitted anywhere in the country!

The fact of the matter is that few of us think of backyard fireworks for what they really are -- essentially the same weaponry used in military battles, capable of inflicting the same kind of damage.  This fact was driven home to me three years ago when a young man who grew up next door to us was killed by an errant firecrackerAndy was just 20 years old.  Needless to say his parents and siblings were absolutely devastated.  It was a senseless tragedy.  And don't forget that it was irresponsible use of pyrotechnics that caused the deaths of 100 people at The Station nightclub here in West Warwick, R.I. back in 2003. Now I suppose that kids will be kids and some are invariably going to get their hands on fireworks.  I have nothing but contempt for the individuals and businesses who are making big money off the sale of these backyard fireworks to youngsters.  But if I were a parent I would come down hard on my child if I caught him/her with the likes of rockets, artillary shells or firecrackersAm I all alone here?  Furthermore, what I find positively incomprehensible are the adults who shoot off fireworks, particularly those who set them off in front of their kids. What kind of example are they setting, particularly in jurisdictions where they are illegal?  Are they just trying to be "cool"? Are these people ever going to grow up?  It is an undeniable fact that scores of adults get seriously injured each year fooling around with these items. And the adults tend to purchase the more powerful products. Needless to say there is precious little quality control in the manufacture of these kind of fireworks. Aside from being extremely dangerous and against the law in many communities fireworks scare the hell out of birds and animals of all kinds.  Our cat is absolutely petrified when these things start going off.  Furthermore, I find many of the people who shoot off fireworks have precious little consideration for their neighbors. I hear these things going off at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning!   Meanwhile, debris from fireworks often start dangerous brush and house fires while releasing poisonous gases into the atmosphere.  As far as I am concerned the use of fireworks by private individuals has absolutely no redeeming value!. 

Now having said that I do realize that fireworks date all the way back to 7th century China when they were ostensibly used to frighten away evil spirits.  Likewise,  the reailty is that fireworks displays have been a tradition here in the United States since our country was founded.  The fact of the matter is that lots of people really enjoy an impressive display of fireworks.  And it is for just this reason that most communities offer free fireworks displays around the 4th of July and on other patriotic holidays. Some people are opposed to public fireworks displays citing the enormous cost, particularly in this era of extremely tight budgets.  And they certainly have a point. But if fireworks are to be allowed at all I believe this is the proper venue for them.  Consequently, I wish that state and local governments would crack down and ban once and for all the sale and use of all consumer fireworks. It seems to me that the 22 states where backyard fireworks are still legal to purchase and use are recklessly condoning this activity.  Plain and simple, this stance fails the common sense test.  As far as I am concerned totally banning the use of consumer fireworks is very sound public policy.  This is one of those issues where I expect to see a wide variety of opinion.  If you feel differently please tell us why.     Not recommended!

For more information on consumer fireworks check out the following U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website:

The use of backyard consumer fireworks should be banned in the United States. The use of backyard consumer fireworks should be banned in the United States. The use of backyard consumer fireworks should be banned in the United States. The use of backyard consumer fireworks should be banned in the United States.

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June 28, 2010
There is this one thing that exists. I can't remember the word.... oh yeah! its called common sense. Firework goes boom. Most of them even have a picture showing this on the packaging. I for one have never found anything that matches the thrill of fireworks or the "hell-yeah" factor they produce. Other than hunting, I can't think of anything better than sitting at the lake with friends and family, lighting off fireworks, and having a good time.
June 26, 2010
Darwinism at it's finest. If someone is too stupid (or just lacks common sense) then let them remove themselves from the gene pool. Ignorant people are to blame for 99% of these problems throughout the world and it's pathetic how some people fight to save these fools from their ignorance. Tragedy or not to the family, but they raised the kid that way. Tight budgets are stretched out even further in an attempt to condone idiocy. if it's okay for people to fight for it simply because it's sad, then people need to fight because it's life and a moron decided to end it that way. Would you hold a stick of dynamite and light it? Would you still stick up for those who do? That's what most of them did. Life is full of it everywhere you look. People asking to asking to die for a cheap thrill and be an example of what not to do. Don't outlaw them, tax and teach them! Take the time out of YOUR day to show them right from wrong! THAT'S what saves lives. This thought that a fraction of less than a percent of people were dumb enough to risk their life for a big boom only supports the idea that they're better off dead.
June 26, 2010
You make some very valid points. However, I believe that by keeping this activity legal the government is really condoning this sort of thing. Obviously some people are going to do this whether it is legal or not. I just don't think that government should be condoning it. Some who argue for keeping it legal cite the taxes collected as a reason. Like taxes collected from casino gambling and lotteries I just think this is poor public policy. Thanks for your valuable imput on this issue!
June 28, 2010
...and, sadly the people holding the fuse are often children who shouldn't pay in injuries for the idiotic lack of supervision & responsibility of their parents/caregivers. Darwinism naturally favors those who keep their children safe, but the others don't deserve to be easy victims.
June 25, 2010
I'd give you the finger but I don't have any left!
June 21, 2010
I'll have to agree with you Paul on this one, though I have not previously given it much thought! I do think this is far too dangerous for the general public, the toxic gases are enough to convince me that they should be banned and reserved for professional commercial use on July 4th. :)
June 20, 2010
Excellent points. sir. It is so sad that irresponsibility and a lack of respect for dangerous things can victimize innocent bystanders or the people celebrating holidays/events themselves. I find myself in partial disagreement, being from Kansas and growing up hypnotized, romanticizing the power of fire. Some of my best Independence Day memories are of my dad, a rugged Vietnam veteran, cigarette dangling from his mouth and acetylene torch in his hand entertaining a slew of neighborhood kids with pyrotechnic displays. I think you're right that there is a cultural...brainwashing (for lack of a better word) about it. Toying with danger not only commands respect from those around you but is also seen in Kansas as the most direct way to celebrate & display independence. If the fireworks were outlawed, they would probably just resort to shooting firearms into the air or some other crazy foolishness. I find myself wondering if educational regulation, such as they do with firearms training in hunter's safety courses, could find some middle ground between these two perspectives. Anyway, now I live in Iowa where fireworks are banned, but people just drive across the border into Missouri where they can be easily purchased, thrown into the car trunk, and smuggled back. If they're caught the fines are stiff, but it is a big rural state and there are many ways to circumvent regulations. I've had enough close call experiences that my son will only be wielding sparklers and snakes, though. And, don't get me wrong at all...all of your arguments are compelling and sound. I'm hoping that when I check back here you have a firestorm of interesting discussion on your page. Great review, thank you!
June 21, 2010
Thanks for your thoughtful and incisive comments. As you indicated, the fact that one state bans these items and an adjoining state allows them is a major problem in itself. From the little bit I have read about the subject one of the major arguments for allowing these products to be sold is the tax revenue states receive from their sale. To me this is a pathetic argument.
More Consumer Fireworks reviews
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
posted in That's Beat
These products are dangerous and far too easy to access. Countless individuals have been unnecessarily injured or even killed due to the sales and improper use of pyrotechnics. The irresponsible use of these items is no less dangerous than that of a firearm.
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on I never could … more
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Daytime fireworks

Daytime fireworks include most bottle rockets, smoke balls, firecrackers, and other fireworks that emit very little or no light. Some examples of daytime consumer fireworks include:

  • Rockets — launch into the air, sometimes with a high-pitched whistling sound, with a report (explosion) at the end. Some varieties may emit sparks upon launch. Their sizes can range from an inch to about 6 inches long and 1/8 to 3/4 inches around, not including the stick.
  • Firecracker — an explosion occurs on the ground, often in a series. They range from 1 to 16,000 on a single string.
  • Smoke ball — emits colored smoke for a few seconds. Colors typically include white, green, blue, yellow, orange, fuscia, red and pink.
  • Saturn missiles — a series of about 16 to 300 shots for the largest batteries that are made in succession with a high-pitched scream each time, often with a report at the end of each shot.

 Nighttime fireworks

Nighttime fireworks include, Roman candles sparklers, jumping jacks, artillery shells, and other light-emitting fireworks. Some examples of nighttime consumer fireworks include:

  • Repeater - a device in which one fuse lights and ignites a series of small mortars at once, these can contain up to 500 grams of gunpowder and offer a very exciting display.
  • Roman Candles - A long tube that fires small balls of light in succession to one another. They can have as few as 5 shots, or as many as 200 ...
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