Why the Fireworks You Buy Aren’t As Spectacular As the Professional Ones

Fireworks shows can be fun to watch, especially if there’s a big, city-wide spectacular on the Fourth of July. However, if you enjoy fireworks, you may have noticed that the ones you buy at a roadside stand aren’t nearly as impressive as the ones that are used in professional shows. One reason why is because different states have different laws regarding fireworks. Today, consumer fireworks are legal for purchase in 46 states and Washington, DC. However, Ohio, Vermont and Illinois only allow the purchase of sparklers and other novelty-type fireworks. Massachusetts, on the other hand, doesn’t permit the sale of fireworks at all. The consumer fireworks that can be purchased in most states are considered “Class C” fireworks and include Roman candles, sparklers, poppers, snakes, helicopters, ground spinners, and multiple tube fireworks. They must have fewer than 50mg of gunpowder and the fuses have to burn for at least three seconds, but no more than nine seconds, to help ensure that they don't explode in the face of the person who's lighting them. The fireworks set off by professionals are considered “Class B” fireworks and aren't intended for use by consumers. When it comes to professional fireworks, ground-based fountains will shoot showers of sparks 5-9 feet in the air on average, and some of the larger fountains can reach heights of 12 feet. Rockets shoot 50-300 feet in the air, depending on the size, quality and atmospheric conditions. Unlike consumers, who use matches to light their fireworks, professionals use blow torches. Professional fireworks present a high hazard and are intended for use only by persons with specialized knowledge and training.