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It’s that time of year when we start to think about summer fun. For most of us, that fun is typically centered around fireworks for graduation parties and Fourth of July celebrations. I’m not talking about the big elaborate fireworks displays you see in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles. I’m talking about consumer fireworks. You know—bottle rockets, roman candles, M-80 firecrackers, and the occasional “artillery” shells. The stuff you can’t wait to get your hands on when you’re a teenager.

Unfortunately, one thing that doesn’t get much thought is how the fireworks make it safely to the stands you see on the side of the road or in parking lots. What many people, including shippers, distributors, and transporters, don’t realize is that consumer fireworks are regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrations (PHMSA) Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). Consumer fireworks are considered hazardous materials, as most are a Division 1.4G explosive. While being transported to and from warehouses and roadside stands for sale to customers, consumer fireworks must meet certain HMR requirements.


Fireworks shipments must:

  • Include a shipping paper that contains the following information:
    • I.D. number
    • Proper shipping name
    • Packing group
    • Net explosive mass
    • EX number (if not contained on the package)
    • Number and type of packages
    • Emergency contact and telephone number
    • Be properly loaded, blocked, and braced to restrict movement in the vehicle.
  • Be protected against ignition sources.
  • Be handled by professionals trained in the HMR (i.e., general awareness/familiarization, function-specific, safety, and security training).

For those that transport 1,001 pounds or more, gross weight, of Division 1.4G fireworks on a vehicle:

  • The driver must have a CDL that includes a hazmat endorsement.
  • Vehicles must be placarded on each side, and each end, with “EXPLOSIVES 1.4” placards.
  • Shippers and carriers must develop and implement security plans, including possible transport risks to fireworks, and measures to address the risks.
  • Transporters and carriers must hold a current hazmat registration certificate issued by PHMSA.

If you are transporting bigger fireworks that fall into a different hazard class, such as Division 1.1G or 1.3G, you will also be required to posses a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (HMSP) issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA).


A few tips when loading, unloading, or working around fireworks include:

  • Turn off your engine when loading/unloading;
  • Do not smoke, have an open flame, or heat source;
  • Do not use any tool or object that could damage the package;
  • Make sure the fireworks are compatible with other cargo; and
  • Have a fire extinguisher available.

Don’t let a violation or fine prematurely ruin your summer fun. Make sure you know what the requirements are for shipping and transporting consumer fireworks.

Key to remember: Consumer fireworks are regulated by PHMSA as Class 1 explosives. Employees in the transportation process of consumer fireworks must have training. Shipments must include applicable markings, labels, placards, and shipping papers.