Changes to the Fireworks Law
If you are working in Michigan, by now your department has received multiple calls from fireworks companies looking to setup shop and start selling fireworks here in Michigan. There is no doubt the law has changed and there are many things that the fire service needs to be aware of.
The new law was signed into effect on January 1, 2012 by Gov. Rick Snyder. The new bill allows for the use of Consumer Grade Fireworks within the state of Michigan. This law separates Consumer Grade Fireworks and Low Impact Fireworks (previously approved fireworks in Michigan).
Here are some quick items of note:
- The new law prohibits any ordinance which bans the sale of fireworks. If you community had a previous ordinance on selling of fireworks changes should be made to be in accordance with the new law.
- In order to sell consumer fireworks there must be a two tiered approach for approval. The first step is for the applicant (tent, stand or structure) to submit for a certificate with the Bureau of Fire Services. The BFS will issue and inspect the property for compliance with the law. The second step is the site must be appropriately zoned and a certificate of occupancy issued by the Building Department. This may require new structures to have local site plan approval as any other building in a community would have.
- Know the difference between consumer grade fireworks and display fireworks. Consumer grade fireworks are properly labeled as 1.4G fireworks. Read the APA standard for more information.
- All locations must be in compliance with NFPA 1124 and the Michigan Building Code.
- A local community may enact an ordinance banning the shooting of fireworks. The only exception is on the day before, day of, and day after any major holiday (I would use the federal holidays)
- The process for Display shows are still required to have local unit of government approval. This part of the law did not change.
It is critical that you have some information at your finger tips. The following links are resources you may need. This includes a copy of the State Law, Emergency Rules and other resources.
- Michigan Fireworks Safety Act 256
- APA Standard
- NFPA 1124
- Emergency Rules
- State Fire Marshal /BFS Web-Page
It is critical that the local units of government communicate and establish an understainding of the new law and penalties. Work with local planning, building and zoning administrators on new buildings and tent sites. Develop a path of enforcement with the local law enforcement and prosecutors office before the fireworks season.
Don’t forget to start educating the public on the dangers of consumer fireworks and provide plenty of public education on fireworks safety this year. MFS.com will provide more training throughout the next couple of weeks.