About the Fireworks Safety Act


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To the Editor:

What is the Fireworks Safety Act: The Fireworks Safety Act is proposed legislation before the
Connecticut Legislature to allow two new types of consumer fireworks to be purchased and enjoyed
here in the state.

How does the Fireworks Safety Act help Firefighters: Contained within the Fireworks Safety Act is language to place an extra 5% sales tax on consumer fireworks sales. The money from this tax would be earmarked for Firefighter training and training facilities.

Who else benefits from the Fireworks Safety Act: Safety amongst communities is improved due to
Regulating firework items that are already here. One of the benefits is that by regulating firework sales it reduces the black market for homemade, dangerous devices. It also reduces illegal storage of fireworks in uninspected facilities.

Parents benefit by being able to control things they cannot control when bringing children to public firework displays, such as language used by the crowd, smoking around their children, loud music that may not be acceptable, sitting in traffic after an event etc. Backyard family fireworks provide parents with being in control of who attends, when they begin, when they end or even stopping a backyard celebration. It also allows for earlier bedtimes.

One thing that should not be overlooked is as other states have loosened restrictions on consumer fireworks use, noise complaints about them have reduced. Oftentimes people enjoy fireworks intermittently for long periods of time while trying to avoid police detection. A little here and a little there approach frustrating neighbors and police responders alike. In states that have allowed more consumer fireworks it has been shown that people enjoy their fireworks show openly in their backyards for 30 minutes around Independence Day. After that 30minute show, they then do not use consumer fireworks again until the next Independence Day.

What types of consumer fireworks would it allow: The Fireworks Safety Act would not allow all Consumer Fireworks. The Fireworks Safety Act would expand the size of current fountains to allow them to last longer. It would also allow repeater type aerial fireworks which according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission are 18 times safer than Sparklers. These two, safe categories of consumer fireworks would be allowed to be sold and used in Connecticut only from inspected and approved facilities.

What types of fireworks would remain prohibited: The Fireworks Safety Act would continue to ban noisy firecrackers, bottle rockets, large reloadable mortar fireworks, and roman candles.

What about M-80’s, Cherry Bombs and Silver Salutes: These types of fireworks have been banned from
sale in the United States since 1966 and began being enforced as illegal by the ATF in the 1970’s. These devices are against federal and state law.

How can larger fireworks be safer: Larger fireworks are safer because people light the fuses and get
away, they do not hold them in their hands or stand close to them.

Expanding the size of fountains does not change how high they go or how loud they are. By expanding the size of fountains, it allows each fountain to last longer. That is the only difference between fountains currently for sale here in Connecticut and the ones proposed in the Fireworks Safety Act.

Repeater type of consumer fireworks are constructed with sturdy bases that are tested to reduce the chance of tipping over while firing. Repeater type fireworks are also safer because they are designed to go higher in the air, allowing time for the colorful stars to fully extinguish before reaching the ground. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission tests consumer fireworks for safety before products are allowed for sale to the public.

Is there an economic benefit: Economic benefits of the Fireworks Safety Act can be measured in many ways. Consumer fireworks are a growing industry within the U.S. that thirty other states benefit from to a greater degree than Connecticut. Some states place an additional luxury type tax on the sale of Consumer Fireworks. Pennsylvania for instance raised an additional 12 million dollars for firefighter training and facilities through a tax of this type in 2021. West Virginia utilizes a special tax on consumer fireworks to fund veterans facilities and firefighter training. Proponents of the Fireworks Safety Act suggest lawmakers place a 5% luxury tax on consumer fireworks sales to fund long needed firefighter training facilities and training curriculums.

The consumer fireworks industry creates retail jobs, internships, logistics and warehouse jobs, sales and marketing jobs etc. Approximately 90% of firework sales are done around Independence Day. This creates an opportunity for college attendees to continue to stay in Connecticut and work during the summer. These jobs are created without the need for tax incentives or other state benefit deals. This is an industry that currently wants to expand in Connecticut.

How big is the consumer fireworks industry: According to U.S. Customs records, Americans used 416.3
million pounds of consumer fireworks in 2021. The industry nearly tripled in size over the past 21
years through consistent, steady growth. Many consumer fireworks companies have been expanding their warehouses, logistics and workforce to meet this demand.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, 2.2 billion dollars of consumer fireworks were sold in 2021.

How does the Fireworks Safety Act improve safety: Larger consumer fireworks are already here in
Connecticut. Residents hear them around Independence Day. Out of state firework stores advertise on billboards in Connecticut every summer. For many residents it is a shorter drive to a fireworks store than to one of the casinos or to New Haven for a slice of pizza. They should be allowed and properly regulated here in Connecticut.

By legalizing a greater variety of fireworks, it reduces people hoarding large quantities of fireworks and storing them in uninspected facilities. It greatly cuts down on illegal fireworks sales within communities. It also can create safer firefighter responses if people are fourth coming with responders that they have consumer fireworks within their homes.

What other restrictions and penalties are in the law: Fireworks would only be allowed to be enjoyed
between the hours of 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. except for on New Year’s and on Independence Day. By placing
the times for fireworks in the law it provides the ability to enforce the law even in communities that do
not have a noise ordinance by law. They can only be lit by people 18 years of age. Fireworks additionally
can only be sold to people over 18 years old. Any violations are a Misdemeanor and would require a
court appearance.

Steve Gelineau
Oxford, CT