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General FAQ

Do you sell M-80s and/or Cherry Bombs?
No. M-80’s and Cherry Bombs are not fireworks; they are illegal explosive devices and have been Federally banned since 1966.

What fireworks are legal in Minnesota?
In general, any firework that leaves the ground or has report is illegal in MN.  If the warning label reads, “Emits showers of sparks,” and does not say “with report” it may be a Minnesota approved firework device.  We do the best we can to label all our MN legal products as such.  If you are unsure, contact the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) of the area in which you plan to discharge fireworks. The AHJ may be the local Mayor, Fire Chief, etc.

What fireworks are legal to use in my area?
Fireworks laws vary by location, conditions, and may also change from time to time.  We recommend researching the laws of your planned discharge area well in advance of your show. To be sure of your local regulations, contact the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for the area in which you plan to discharge fireworks well in advance of purchasing and/or discharging fireworks.  The AHJ may be the local Mayor, Fire Chief, etc.

Do you have “buy one get one free” or “buy one get one for 99 cents” pricing?
Our regular prices are half or less than half of the stores that use those gimmicks, so the answer is no. For example a local BOGO store sold a popular 500-gram multi-shot for $89.99, while ours was priced at $29.99.  Meaning you could almost buy 2 and a half of ours for what you would pay to get two using their “FREE” pricing trick.  Plus, we give out something free with every purchase.  We also have coupons year-round, daily sales, and quantity deals and raffles around the 4th in-store. Want more? Attend our Annual Retail Demo Night and Fireworks Show in June to see before you buy and for more chances to win!  Dollar for dollar you’ll walk out of our stores with a whole lot more for a whole lot less!

What forms of payment are accepted in your stores?
We currently accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and cash. Checks no longer accepted.

Where are your black cats?
That is a brand name; it is not a specific type of firework.  If you are looking for an actual black-colored cat, we’ve rescued 2 kittens (one of them black and white) and a turtle on our properties in the past few years and would be delighted to direct you to a local shelter full of animals looking for their fur-ever homes!

Will fireworks be safe in my trunk when it’s hot outside?
Consumer fireworks are tested in ovens at high temperatures and should only ignite if a flame comes in contact with their fuse.  This test is required by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and is referred to as the thermal stability test.  All legal consumer fireworks sold in the United States must pass this test.  Yet another reason it is so very important to purchase from a reputable, reliable, year-round fireworks store.

Where can I store my fireworks if I don’t use them all at once?
Fireworks should be stored in a cool, dry area.

What does this firework do?
ASK BEFORE YOU LIGHT! If you are in the store and want to know what an item does, ask a staff member or read the product description on the item.  If you’re online, go to the product page to find the item and its description.  Or attend our Annual Retail Demo Night and Fireworks Show in June!  And when in doubt, ASK BEFORE YOU LIGHT!

How far away should my audience be from the fireworks?
Safety is super important!  YOU are in charge of the safety and well-being of your audience and surroundings. The following is a list of recommended MINIMUM distances for certain types of consumer fireworks. While the industry standard is 70-feet per inch of shell, we recommend going well above and beyond that.

  • 500-gram multi-shots and reloadables (a.k.a. artillery shells) = AT LEAST 200 feet of clearance on all sides
  • 200-gram multi-shots: AT LEAST 100 feet of clearance on all sides
  • 500-gram fountains: AT LEAST 40 feet of clearance on all sides
  • 200-gram fountains: AT LEAST 20 feet of clearance on all sides

For more information, ask in-store.

Other safety/general tips, include:

  • Always have water sources handy – a bucket for spent sparklers, a hose, water extinguishers, etc.
  • Always ensure everyone wears ear protection and safety glasses.  Hard hats are a great idea, too, especially for your lighter.
  • Designate one person as the lighter and one person as the safety/fire person and make sure they do not consume anything that may impair their judgement before, during, or after the show.
  • DO NOT PLACE PRODUCT ON GRASS OR A SURFACE THAT CAN COMPRESS. Always set product on a hard, flat surface in a safe and secure manner.
  • Common sense and common courtesy go a long way! Let neighbors know about your show in advance so they can prepare people/pets, know your local rules and noise ordinances, etc.
  • For more safety tips, scroll down to the Safety Tips section.

Should I hold roman candles in my hand?
NO!  Roman candles are not, and never were, meant to be handheld. For tips on how to safely use our roman candles feel free to contact our stores.

Should I let kids play with fireworks?
NO!  Fireworks should only be used by responsible adults.  ADULTS – when using fireworks, you are in charge of protecting your audience and modeling safety. Think safety at all times. If you have any questions, please contact the store where you purchased your fireworks before you light!  For more info, read the safety tips below.

I need a copy of a Wisconsin Fireworks permit, where can I get one?
Fireworks Forever does not have authority to issue fireworks permits.  For a blank permit form used by the State of Wisconsin, click this link: Wisconsin Fireworks permit.  You will then need to fill out the form and have it signed by the Authority Having Jurisdiction in the area you plan to discharge fireworks. Keep in mind, this process can take time, may vary from municipality to municipality, and there may be additional requirements in your area.  We recommend planning ahead.  The blank permit form linked above is a PDF, make sure you have Adobe.

How did you ever end up in the fireworks business?
Fireworks Forever was born out of love of family and respect for Service. Read our quick, interesting, and relatively well-written history by clicking here.

Safety Tips

As a family-owned business it is our number one priority to help you and your families celebrate safely.  REMEMBER, when you are using fireworks YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF SAFETY.  Keep safety in mind at all times and if you have any questions about our products or how to use them, please contact us before you light!  With that in mind, we’ve put together the following list of safety tips.  These tips are compiled from those offered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Council on Firework Safety (NCFS), general industry standards, and our years of experience.

  1. Children should not handle fireworks. Only adults should be allowed to use fireworks.  Never allow children to handle, light, or play with fireworks. Even teens, 18 or older, should only use fireworks under close adult supervision. Parents, it is especially important to talk to your teens about the unsafe and irresponsible use of fireworks.  Social media and viral videos sometimes seem to glorify irresponsibility, but no amount of internet fame is worth risking injury to oneself or others or damage to property.
  2. Always follow the law. Obey all local, state, and federal laws regarding the use and possession of fireworks. If you are unsure of local laws, contact your local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction).  The local AHJ may be the fire chief, township chairperson, etc.  It is also important that you understand the intended use and possible hazards associated with each firework, so be sure to read and follow all labels, cautions, directions, and warnings.
  3. Alcohol and fireworks DO NOT mix. Any use of fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or drugs increases the possibility of misuse and/or injury to yourself and others.  Fireworks should only be used by responsible, respectful adults who are not under the influence of any mood/mind altering substance.
  4. Use fireworks outside on a hard surface in a clear and open area. Never use fireworks indoors.  Always use fireworks outside and make sure there are no flammable materials, buildings, trees or other obstructions nearby (remember to check above as well as to the sides).  It is also important that fireworks be placed on a hard, flat, and level surface to ensure their stability.  NEVER HOLD OR HANDLE A LIT FIREWORK – not even roman candles.  Never discharge fireworks inside a trash barrel, metal or glass container, or home-made tube.
  5. Be aware of your audience and respectful of those nearby. Always make sure the audience and any other living beings are a safe distance away prior to discharging fireworks.  This also means making sure the wind conditions are right.  Have safety glasses and earplugs on hand, and make sure young children are wearing ear protection – our kiddos loved wearing the ear muff style ear protection.  Let neighbors know that you are planning a fireworks display beforehand and be respectful of pets and farm animals.  There are many wonderful web resources out there for helping to prepare animals for loud noises like thunderstorms and fireworks.
  6. Never place any portion of your body directly over a firework when lighting. Any pyrotechnician worth his or her salt will tell you that the first rule of fireworks is, “Never put anything you aren’t willing to lose over a firework.”  Never put your head or any part of your body over the top of any fireworks product, never look into a firework to check it, and never hold a lit firework item in your hand. Especially if you suspect there has been a misfire.  What you think may be a “dud” may just be a long burning fuse.
  7. Use care when lighting fireworks. When lighting a firework, always keep your body as far away as possible.  We recommend using punk or an extended butane lighting device.  Also, we strongly suggest that the person lighting the fireworks should wear eye protection.  Only light one fireworks item at a time and, once the firework is lit, move away as quickly and safely as possible.
  8. Use care in handling fireworks. Never carry fireworks in your pocket or smoke around fireworks. Be careful when handling fireworks to ensure they will not be dropped and remember to place unused fireworks in an area where there is no risk of them being prematurely ignited.  If the fireworks must be stored, make sure to place them in a cool dry place to ensure longevity.  Always dispose of fireworks properly.
  9. Do not use dud’s. A dud is the common term for a malfunctioning firework.  Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
  10. Always have a Designated Fireperson. Before lighting any firework, always designate one person as the fireperson whose only job will be to stay alert and ready in case of emergency.  This person should be in charge of ensuring there is a source of water (ideally a hose and full bucket) and/or fire extinguisher nearby.
  11. Never use fireworks as weapons. Never throw, point, or aim fireworks at any living being or property.
  12. Purchase fireworks from reliable dealers who are available year-round. Buy fireworks only from reliable, licensed, and insured fireworks dealers.  By purchasing from these types of dealers, you can be sure that their products meet or exceed the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standards. You can also be sure that they are familiar with and truly care about the products they are selling.
  13. Do not try to make your own firework or attempt to obtain illegal explosive devices. Never attempt to modify, construct, or make your own fireworks (unless you are a licensed and insured pyrotechnician).  Homemade devices are extremely dangerous and are considered illegal explosive devices.  Overloaded products are also illegal.  Items such as M-80’s and Cherry Bombs have been illegal since 1966.  THEY ARE NOT FIREWORKS; they are extremely dangerous, illegal explosive devices. Display fireworks are also illegal to possess without a license.  They are not safe to possess or use if you have not been trained.  NO AMOUNT OF NOISE IS WORTH THE RISK.
  14. Do not take fireworks on airplanes. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) it is a violation of federal law to transport fireworks on airplanes.
  15. Do you need a blank copy of a Wisconsin Fireworks permit? Make sure you have Adobe for the link to work properly.  The form available here is only a blank form that must be taken to a Wisconsin AHJ.  Fireworks Forever does not have the authority to authorize the use of fireworks and the blank form does not authorize anything until it is properly filled out by the permitee and signed by the AHJ of the discharge location.

These are generalized tips.  If you would like safety tips specific to the fireworks we sell, give us a call or stop in at any of our showrooms.


Consumer Fireworks are officially referred to as UN0336 1.4G consumer fireworks.


All of our fireworks and products are tested to ensure they meet or exceed the standards established by the CPSC and the United Stated Department of Transportation (DOT).

Safety Links:

Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Department of Transportation:
Federal Aviation Administration:
National Council on Fireworks Safety:
National Safety Council:

Our Rating System

Need help figuring out our ratings?  Please read below.  Also, keep in mind that these ratings are in comparison to other items in the same category.  For example it is not fair to compare the noise of a rocket to a reloadable or the space needed for a ground spinner to a multi-shot 500-gram.

  • Color: Not all fireworks have a lot of color in them. If they were meant to have color, the color should be bright. A 5-star rating probably means the colors in the product are uncommonly bright. If you see a rating of one, it could mean the colors are more towards an average brightness level, but check to make sure it isn’t just a firecracker or other item that doesn’t need color to be fantastic. For some items, color will not apply at all.
  • Duration: Duration refers to how long an item lasts. The more stars the longer the item will last.  Some items can “”wow”” you in seconds and some take a while to show off all their effects. There are also items set up in a way that their discharge time may vary, so duration does not apply to them. Assortments, flying items, missiles, reloadables, and roman candles, are a few examples of items where duration does not apply.
  • Height: Height refers to how high an item will travel. The more stars the higher you can expect an item to go. Keep in mind, some items do not need to travel high into the sky to be awesome. Who doesn’t enjoy watching tanks battle it out on the ground?
  • Noise: The noise of an item is pretty self-explanatory. If an item shows 5-stars for noise there are going to be loud reports, loud crackle, and/or loud whistles. The lower the rating the quieter the item should be. There are a few items that do not make much noise and will not receive a noise rating. Most smoke sticks are good examples of almost noiseless items.
  • Space Needed: Each firework requires a certain amount of space. If an item shows a 5-star rating for space needed, make sure you respect that. Keep in mind that an item requiring a lot of space can mean aerial space as well as space on either side. Tree cover, houses, power lines and the like should all be taken into account. For example, novelty and flying items are best used on hard surfaces, such as driveways, but some of them also require clear aerial space. Be sure to read the product descriptions and warnings on each item before using it and always check the weather, including fire warnings and wind speeds.
  • Staff Rating: This category represents the combined opinion of our staff – remember, some of them have been working with fireworks for their entire life!

Glossary of Terms

The glossary is the result of combining years of experience with multiple opinions.  We hope this gives you a foot-hold into the vast expanse that is fireworks.  The definitions below are not infallible and we will do our best to stay on top of the ever-changing terminology.  Feel free to send us suggestions and/or amendment ideas at any time.

1.1G DOT classification for High Explosives that pose a mass explosion hazard.  The DOT recently revised 1.1G to include all display firework shells greater than 10″ and all salutes containing greater than 2.5 ounces of flash powder.
1.3G DOT classification for explosives that DO NOT pose a mass explosion hazard.  They DO pose a mass fire, minor blast or fragment hazard.  This grouping includes all display firework shells larger than 1.75″ up to 10″.
1.4G DOT classification for Consumer Fireworks that DO NOT pose a blast or fragment hazard.  They DO pose a moderate fire hazard.  This means that, contrary to popular belief, consumer fireworks will NOT mass detonate.
ABS ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, which is a plastic pipe used in plumbing.  ABS should NEVER be used as a material for mortars.  It is liable to shatter, creating shrapnel and poses a huge safety hazard.
AERIAL EFFECT The desired result of a firework that occurs once it’s in the air.
AERIAL FIREWORK A device that is propelled up into the air.  Roman Candles, Multi-shot Cakes, Artillery Shells and Rockets are all examples of aerial fireworks.  Aerial fireworks are easily distinguishable from ground fireworks by their warning label, which reads “Shoots Flaming Balls.”  A consumer grade aerial firework can reach heights of 200 feet, but not all of them go that high.  Aerial fireworks on the professional level can range all the way up to 1500 feet high.
AERIAL SHELL A spherical or cylindrical-shaped shell propelled into the air from a mortar.  Once in the air, the shell bursts to create an aerial effect such as a peony or a chrysanthemum.  Aerial Shells are a type of Aerial Firework.
AHJ AHJ is an acronym for “authority having jurisdiction.” It refers to the fire marshal, local police department, local fire department, or whoever is responsible for regulating and monitoring fireworks in your area.
ARTILLERY SHELL A smaller version of a display firework shell measuring 1.75″ or less.  They are propelled out of a mortar and may have single or multiple breaks.  Artillery Shells are sometimes referred to as Mortars or Reloadables.
ASSORTMENT Assortment is a loose term referring to fireworks that come pre-packaged in a box.  Assortments can range from a package of different types of rockets to a mixed package of 500-Gram Multi-shots, reloadables and fountains.  Assortments are sometimes referred to as “a show in a box.”  The specific definition may vary from store to store, so be sure to ask.
ATF (BATFE) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, commonly known as the ATF, is the Federal agency that regulates the licensing, importation, manufacture, distribution, and storage of explosives (1.3G & 1.1G).  The ATF does not regulate the use of consumer fireworks.
BARRAGE Rapid repetition of an aerial effect.  These are often found in multi-shot cakes and roman candles.
BATTERY A Battery is a group of similar items grouped as a single bunch.  Saturn Missile Batteries are a good example.
BLACK POWDER Also known as gunpowder, black powder is the most common material used in fireworks. It is a low explosive consisting of potassium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal.
BOTTLE ROCKET A small rocket attached to a thin 12″ stick that travels into the air and typically ends with a small report.  Some bottle rockets have whistle or color as well.
BREAK The part of a shell containing effects.  If a shell has multiple breaks, it will have multiple bursts of effects.
BROCADE A spider-like shell burst pattern, which typically has a silver tail effect and is very bright.
BURST The release of effects by an aerial device.
CAKE A cake is a repeating aerial firework consisting of multiple shots.  Cakes consist of one fuse attached to multiple tubes which fire in a sequence, launching one or more effects into the air.  Cakes are often referred to as repeaters or multi-shot cakes.  They may even get more specific and be referred to as 500-gram multi-shot cakes or 200-gram multi-shot cakes depending on the amount of powder they contain.
CHERRY BOMB A small salute that gets its name from its cherry-like size and red color.  The original Cherry bombs, which contained over 1 gram of flash powder, have been banned in the US since 1966.  The legal version is restricted to 50 milligrams of powder.
CHRYSANTHEMUM A common and widely used effect, a chrysanthemum is a dense spherical burst of stars that retains its shape before fading. (See our Effects Glossary)
CLASSIFICATION Classification is primarily based on powder weight and type.  The DOT assigns the classification at the time of approval.  See the chart below.
Fireworks sold to the general public Display Fireworks greater than 1.75″ Display Fireworks greater than 10″
Previous Name Common Fireworks Special Fireworks Explosives
Previous Explosive Classification Class C Class B Class B
Shipping Classification UN0336 UN0335 UN0333
Current Name Consumer Fireworks Display Fireworks High Explosives
Current Explosive Classification 1.4G 1.3G 1.1G
COMET A large star that emits showers of sparks as it rises into the air.  They get their name from actual comets and mimic the tails seen on them. (See our Effects Glossary)
COMPOSITION A mixture of pyrotechnic materials containing an oxidizer, a fuel, and assorted other chemicals for color and effect.
CONE Fountain in the shape of a cone.
CONSUMER FIREWORKS Consumer Fireworks are fireworks that are specifically designed for use by the general public.  They include many different types and effects.  Check with your AHJ for local laws and availability.  Consumer fireworks must adhere to the rules laid out by the CPSC to ensure their safety and low hazard level.  For example, consumer fireworks must have an ignition source come in contact with their fuse in order for them to discharge, meaning they are heat tested and will not simply go off because they were left in a hot car. Also, and contrary to popular belief, consumer fireworks WILL NOT mass detonate.  Consumer Fireworks are heavily regulated to ensure safety and quality.  Consumer fireworks are also known by their DOT classification, 1.4G or UN0336 and were previously known as Class C or Common fireworks.
CPSC The CPSC is the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, a Federal agency that regulates Consumer Fireworks.
CRACKLE A cluster of very small, sharp reports.  It is similar to the sound of popcorn or water hitting hot oil.
CROSSETTE A Crossette is a comet that contains an internal burst charge of powder that causes it to burst into several fragments, hopefully creating a cross or “X” in the sky.  Getting these shells to break just right so the audience can see their shape is tricky.  Most Consumer Fireworks containing these effects will direct the user to face a certain side towards the audience in an attempt to have the effect break in the prime viewing position. (See our Effects Glossary)
DAHLIA A burst pattern similar to a peony, but containing fewer stars that are larger in size. (See our Effects Glossary)
DAYTIME PYRO Daytime Pyro devices usually include parachutes, streamers and other such devices that do not let off colored light (which is best viewed after dark) as their main effect.  These fireworks are more enjoyable and visible during daylight hours.
DETONATION First and foremost, consumer fireworks DO NOT detonate, they ignite.  A detonation is an exothermic chemical reaction in which the explosive decomposition of a substance forms an energy wave that spreads through the substance at supersonic speeds.  This term is used to describe the reaction achieved in High Explosives, 1.1G.
DISPLAY FIREWORKS Display Fireworks, sometimes known as Commercial Fireworks, are professional fireworks regulated by the ATF.  They require a special license to buy, store, and use.  These fireworks are commonly seen in large displays, such as an aquatennial.  Display fireworks should only be used by trained pyrotechnicians. They are also known by the DOT classifications of 1.3G or 1.1G.
DOT The United States Department of Transportation is a Federal agency that regulates the classification and transportation of fireworks and other explosives, among other things.  The DOT created the 1.1G, 1.3G and 1.4G classifications.
EFFECT The Effect of a firework is the desired result.  The following are examples of effects: chrysanthemum,  flying fish, tails, falling leaves, glitter, etc. (See our Effects Glossary)
ELECTRIC IGNITER An Electric Igniter is a device used for the electrical ignition of fireworks by pyrotechnicians.  These are often used at big displays.  Electric Igniters consists of two lead wires connected to each other by a small filament.  When a current passes through the igniter, the filament heats up and ignites, eventually igniting the fuse.
EXPLOSIVE An Explosive is a substance that has the potential to undergo rapid chemical decomposition, producing light, heat and large volumes of gas.
FALLING LEAVES Falling Leaves are a quieter aerial effect that consists of glowing embers that tumble slowly in the air, flickering back and forth as they fall.  Their motion mimics that of falling leaves.
FINALE The Finale may refer to the last portion of a firework display or individual firework.  In the finale of a fireworks show, fireworks are ignited in large quantities to create an intense display.  The finale of an individual firework is usually multiple tubes fused to ignite last and at the same time creating a larger final display in the sky.
FIRECRACKER A small rolled paper tube containing powder, which is typically braided by their fuses into long strings.  When the fuse is lit, the flame travels to the inside of the firecracker and ignites the powder, which causes it to undergo a small explosion.  This small explosion creates the signature “bang” associated with firecrackers.  In the United States, firecrackers can only contain 50 mg of powder.  Regulatory tests have proven that one of today’s legal firecrackers does not even contain enough powder to break the skin.
FIREFLY A Firefly effect is a blinking gold and silver light.  It may be part of a tail or a star.
FIREWORK A combustible that, when ignited, creates visible and audible effects for entertainment purposes.  In the United States, fireworks are divided into two groups: those that can be purchased by the general public, known as Consumer Fireworks, and those that can only be used by professional pyrotechnicians, known as display fireworks.  Fireworks are considered a hazardous material.
FISH Fish are a type of aerial effect that looks very much like a school of fish darting around the sky.  The effect is created using small bits of fast-burning fuse that propel themselves through the air when ignited.  Fish do not have engines for propulsion.
FLARE A Flare is a tube containing pyrotechnic material that burns slowly with a bright, colored flame.
FLASH POWDER An energetic explosive mixture consisting of an oxidizer and a powdered metallic fuel.  Flash Powder, in its raw form, is highly volatile and can be set off by friction and/or static.  Flash powder should only be handled by highly trained professionals.
FLYING ITEMS A Flying Item is a ground spinner with wings.  Once ignited a flying item will spin on the ground before it travels up into the air.  Flying items are sometimes called Helicopters.
FOUNTAIN A ground firework that sprays sparks upwards.  They are easily distinguished from aerial fireworks by their warning label, which reads “Emits showers of sparks.”  Fountains are considered a “Safe & Sane firework” and are also known as gerbs.
FUSE An item resembling a string or wire that is used to ignite a fireworks device.
GIRANDOLA A wheel mounted horizontally that spins quickly enough to cause it to lift off and rise up into the sky.  Girandola’s usually end with a burst or report and are sometimes referred to as flying saucers.
GERB See Fountain
GLITTER Glitter is a tail effect consisting of bright flashes of light and small explosive bursts.  It lasts several seconds.
GO-GETTER A self-propelled star that flies around randomly in the air.  Unlike flying fish, go-getters have their own engines for propulsion.
GROUND FIREWORK A consumer firework that functions at ground level. They usual range from ground level to about 10 feet tall. Ground fireworks include, but are not limited to: fountains, novelties, and snakes.
GROUND SPINNER An item that spins on the ground, but does not fly up into the air.  Jumping Jacks are an example of a ground spinner.
GUNPOWDER See Black Powder
HAZARDOUS MATERIAL According to the DOT a Hazardous Material is defined as any substance or material that could adversely affect the safety of the public, handlers or carriers.  Fireworks are considered Hazardous Material and are to be treated as such.
HDPE HDPE stands for High Density Polyethylene, which is a strong plastic pipe commonly used for mortars.
HELICOPTER A Helicopter is a ground spinner with wings.  Once ignited a helicopter will spin on the ground before it travels up into the air.  Helicopters are commonly called flying items.
HIGH EXPLOSIVE A High Explosive is an explosive, such as TNT, capable of detonation that combusts nearly instantaneously producing a violent, shattering effect.   Until a recent classification change, high explosives were not used in the fireworks industry and were part of an entirely different DOT classification.  Now any display firework shell larger than 10″ is considered, by the DOT, a 1.1G high explosive and should be treated as such. Consumer Fireworks are NOT high explosives.
ILLEGAL EXPLOSIVE DEVICE An Illegal Explosive Device is a broad term that encompasses any explosive item sold to or made by the general public that is over the legal limit of powder or has been deemed illegal by local, state or Federal laws; this includes unlicensed individuals homemade devices, M-80’s, Cherry Bombs, Silver Salutes, and any legal firework device that is modified in any way by an untrained individual.  Many times these types of items are mistakenly called fireworks.  They are NOT fireworks, they are illegal explosive devices.  If you find or know about an Illegal Explosive Device you should not go near it, you should keep people clear and contact the proper authorities immedately.  If you are caught with Illegal Explosive Devices you could face heavy fines and/or jail time.
ILLEGAL FIREWORK An Illegal Firework is a broad term that encompasses any explosive item sold to the general public that has been deemed illegal by local, state or Federal laws; this includes the sale of Display Fireworks to unlicensed and untrained individuals.  If you are caught with Illegal Fireworks you could face heavy fines and/or jail time.  For local laws regarding fireworks contact your AHJ.
INDOOR PYRO See Proximate Fireworks
JUMPING JACK Jumping Jacks are small tubes fused together in packs.  When lit, they spin or “hop” around on the ground with red and green flames.  Jumping Jacks look strikingly similar to firecrackers.
LADYFINGER A firecracker that is smaller in size and tightly packed.
LIFT CHARGE A Lift Charge is located beneath a shell and is used to propel the device into the sky.  It is usually made of black powder.
M-80 Contrary to popular belief, the M-80 is NOT a firework.  It is an Illegal Explosive Device and a High Explosive (1.1G).  They were originally created by the military for use as a grenade and gunfire simulator.  M-80’s were later sold to the general public as a loud and powerful firecracker.  The M-80 was banned in 1966 by the CPSC as part of the Child Protection Act, because of the overwhelming amount of serious injuries they caused.  The legal version is restricted to 50 milligrams of powder.
MINE A Mine is a ground level eruption or burst of effect in an upwards spray. (See our Effects Glossary)
MISFIRE A Misfire occurs when the fuse of a shell burns into the device, but it fails to ignite the device.
MISSILE A type of rocket that uses fins, not a stick, for guidance.
MORTAR A Mortar is a tube from which aerial fireworks are ejected.  Mortars can be made from cardboard, high density polyethylene or fiberglass.  The term mortar is sometimes used as a nickname for Artillery Shells as well.
MORTAR RACK A wooden or metal frame that may house one or more mortars.  (see Mortar)
MULTI-BREAK A Multi-break shell is a shell with multiple compartments that burst separately.
MULTI-SHOT 200-GRAM A multi-tubed device containing no more than 200 grams of powder.
MULTI-SHOT 500-GRAM A multi-tubed device containing no more than 500 grams of powder.
NFPA An abbreviation for the National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA is responsible for setting uniform national standards for fireworks use, manufacture, transportation, and storage.
NOVELTY A small firework shaped like an animal, vehicle or other structure.  Novelties emit small sprays of sparks, crackle, whistle, and often move around the ground on wheels.  Certain novelty devices you may find at a fireworks store have been deregulated by DOT as non-explosives, including: bang snaps, party poppers, some smoke items, most sparklers, snakes, and some other items.
OSHA The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a branch of the United States Department of Labor responsible for establishing and enforcing safety and health standards in the workplace.  OSHA regulates the pyrotechnic workplace as well.
PALM TREE A Palm Tree is a comet shell that begins with a thick tail of sparks as it travels into the sky and then breaks into several branches of sparks.  It looks very much like an actual palm tree. (See our Effects Glossary)
PARACHUTE An effect that releases a single or multiple parachutes upon bursting.  Parachutes come in both daytime and night varieties.
PEARL A single color star that is launched from the ground.
PEONY A Peony is a somewhat symmetrical break of stars without tails that travel outward before beginning to droop downward. (See our Effects Glossary)
PHMSA The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Security Administration is the federal agency charged with the safe and secure movement hazardous materials by all modes of transportation.
PISTIL A ball of stars in the center of another ball of stars.  Another way to describe this effect is as the small peony inside a larger peony.
PROXIMATE FIREWORKS Proximate Fireworks are the formal name for indoor fireworks. Proximate fireworks are intended for indoor use.  They are used for public events and, just like the rest of the fireworks world, are heavily regulated.
PVC Polyvinyl Chloride is a plastic pipe that should NEVER be used for mortars.  It can shatter sending shrapnel into the air and pose a huge safety risk.
PUNK A stick of compressed sawdust that burns quite slowly.  It is used for igniting Consumer Fireworks .
PYRO From the Greek word meaning “fire.”  It is often used to describe a pyrotechnic enthusiast.
PYROTECHNICS Pyrotechnics are items or devices that burn in order to perform their function.  Fireworks are pyrotechnics.
PYROTECHNICIAN A highly trained individual who builds or shoots fireworks.
QUICK MATCH Quick Match is an extremely rapid-burning fuse used to ignite multiple fireworks.  You must have an ATF license to purchase and possess Quick Match.
RACK See Mortar Rack
RING SHELL A Ring Shell produces a ring as its break pattern.  Ring shells must burst facing the right direction or the ring will not be as visible. (See our Effects Glossary)
RELOADABLE See Artillery Shell
REPORT A Report is a loud bang.  Sometimes Reports are mistakenly referred to as a salutes.  Reports are legal in consumer fireworks as long as they contain less than 150mg of powder.
RISING EFFECT Rising Effects are effects that are released by a shell during its ascent.  Tails, whistle and crackle are all examples of possible rising effects.
ROCKET A Rocket is a type of firework that is (usually) mounted on a stick and propelled by a rocket engine into the air where it bursts.  There are several types of rockets: sky rockets, bottle rockets, and missiles.
ROMAN CANDLE A tube-shaped device that ejects a series of stars into the air.  Contrary to popular belief, roman candles are not meant to be held in your hand.  They should be secured in the ground, or something like a bucket of sand, and then ignited.
SALUTE A Salute is a loud, colorless boom.  Salutes are illegal in consumer fireworks.  A salute is not a report.
SAFE & SANE Safe & Sane refers to Consumer Fireworks that do not burst or contain aerial effects.  This group includes ground fireworks such as fountains, novelties, sparklers, and more.  These items are Minnesota legal.
SERPENT A Serpent is a self-propelled star with a tail.  It look like a snake in the sky.
SHELL See Aerial Shell
SHOT The term Shot refers to the number of effects that burst in a fireworks device.
SILVER SALUTE A Silver Salute is an Illegal Explosive Device packaged in a long silver tube.  It is similar, in effect, to an M-80.   The legal version is restricted to 50 milligrams of powder.
SKY ROCKET A Sky Rocket is a pyrotechnic device made out of a paper tube that propels itself into the air in order to fly. Sky rockets generally have a stick to add stability to their flight. Sky rockets are larger in size than bottle rockets.
SMOKE Technically speaking, smoke is a dispersion of fine solid particles in the air usually resulting from  incomplete combustion.  In fireworks, smoke may be white or colored and is used to create or add to many effects.
SMOKE ITEM A Smoke Item is a firework that generates smoke as a primary effect, such as smoke balls.
SNAKE A Snake is a small black pellet that, when lit, burns slowly to produce an elongated column of ash resembling a snake.
SNAP Snaps are paper balls filled with a cap composition that emits a sharp “bang” upon impact. Commonly called bang snaps.
SPARK A Spark is a tiny particle that emits light as it is ejected from a burning composition.
SPARKLER A Sparkler is a bamboo or metal stick coated in a pyrotechnic composition that give off sparks while burning.
SPINNER A spinner is a type of star that spins in the sky and gives off large quantities of white light. A tourbillion is a type of spinner.
STAR A Star is a small capsule that emits light and sparks as it burns.  Stars are a building block for many effects, such as the peony or chrysanthemum. A singular star launched from the ground is referred to as a pearl.
STROBE A Strobe is blinking effect composed of extremely bright stars that flash repeatedly.
TAIL A Tail is a burning trail that follows a star into the sky.  Most comets have tails and so do willow and brocade effects.
TIME FUSE Time fuse is a thick, slow-burning fuse used to create time delays in aerial shells. (See also Aerial shell)
TOURBILLION A Tourbillion is a type of star that spins in the sky and gives off large quantities of gold, silver, or white light. These are generally constructed as a small paper tube with holes on each end that allow it to spin.  Tourbillions are a type of spinner.
VOLLEY A Volley is an intense barrage of shells or rockets.
VISCO A slow burning fuse used to make fireworks.  It is usually green in color.
WHEEL A Wheel is a device propelled by drivers to spin rapidly.  They usually emit sparks, whistles, color and other effects.
WHISTLE A Whistle is a high-pitched shriek caused by the movement of air through a partly hollow tube.
WILLOW Willows are falling trails of sparks that last up to 10 seconds and look like willow trees. (See our Effects Glossary)

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