Fire in the Sky


By Carol Chavez, Business Manager & Development Lead

We imagine many of you have started to hear the nightly ambiance of fireworks being set off in your neighborhood or near your home as we get closer to the July 4th holiday. While fireworks are beautiful, they can also be very dangerous and they call for our attention and diligence when we use them.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that fireworks (pyrotechnics) are the riskiest consumer product. Fireworks caused 18,000 fires in 2011 and 9,600 injuries. Children under the age of 15 accounted for a quarter of the total victims of those injuries. These injuries included burns, cuts and contusions.

The NFPA has even created a cartoon to discourage the use of fireworks by consumers and rather to enjoy the shows put on by trained professionals. You can view the NFPA video here.

Even fireworks that come across as innocuous are actually dangerous. For example, a sparkler which is a hand-held firework that burns slowly and is often given to children, burns at 1,200 degrees F. To provide a point of reference for how hot that really is, note that glass melts at 900 degrees F. In 2011, sparklers accounted for 24% of all fireworks related injuries.

Fireworks are believed to have been developed about 2,000 years ago in China. The pattern that they paint in the sky is based on the arrangement of the pellets on the inside of the aerial shell. Some of those configurations of pellets produce patterns called a palm, peony, ring, and mine, to name just a few. At the top of this article you will find photos of each example in the order listed here.

So, please do enjoy the fireworks this year and more over the celebration they represent. Be safe and take a moment to understand which fireworks are legal and how to handle them safely. From there we can all leave the rest to the trained professionals and enjoy the show.

One resource you can use to find out which fireworks are legal in your geographical location is the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) website, ( This web site will tell you which consumer fireworks are permitted and prohibited, how old you must be to purchase them, how you obtain a display permit, and more information related to licensing and who enforces the related laws in your area.

In the unfortunate event that you are the victim of a firework related accident, give AEI a call.  Our experts have the background and experience to assist with the investigation of firework related fires and explosions, cause and failure analysis, evaluation of firing system design, review of manufacturer, transportation and storage issues, and safety codes and standards compliance.     (303) 756-2900     The Right Intel Solves the Problem.


This entry was posted in AEI Corporation, Forensic Engineering, Origin & Cause Investigation, Pyrotechnics, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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