NFPA Standards Council contemplates changes to fireworks standard

Published on February 12, 2008
Public hearing slated for June; Public comments now being accepted

February 12, 2008 - In response to findings presented in a new research report from the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF), the Standards Council of the National Fire Protection Association is considering changes with regard to NFPA’s provisions on the retail sale of consumer fireworks. 

NFPA has a long standing position against any use by the general public of fireworks. Nevertheless, in response to requests that, in the interest of public safety, NFPA standards for the retail sales and storage of consumer fireworks should be available in those jurisdictions where the sale of fireworks to the general public are permitted, the NFPA Board of Directors, in 1999, revised NFPA policy in order to permit the Technical Committee on Pyrotechnics to develop such standards. As a result, the scope of NFPA 1124, Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, Storage, and Retail Sales of Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Article, was expanded to include requirements for the retail sale of consumer fireworks and, beginning with the 2003 edition, a new chapter was added to NFPA 1124, which sets forth some minimum fire and life safety requirements for the retail sales of consumer fireworks.

In October 2007, the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) released a report entitled “Fire Safety in Consumer Fireworks Storage and Retail Facilities – Hazard Assessment” (PDF, 1.1 MB). The report documents a study whose purpose was to assemble research data related to the hazards associated with retail sale of consumer fireworks and identify research needed to develop appropriate facility fire safety provisions.  The study included a review of available literature on fire incidence, characterizing of the hazard, and relevant international and analogous code provisions, and recommends further research to further develop the technical basis for the NFPA 1124, Chapter 7 provisions. 

The Standards Council was briefed on the findings of the FPRF report at its October 2007 meeting and after review and consideration of the report the Council issued a decision which reads, in relevant part, as follows:

The Council has considered [the FPRF Report] in particular as it relates to provisions concerning the retail sales of consumer fireworks as contained in Chapter 7 of NFPA 1124. The stated purpose of NFPA 1124, with respect to Chapter 7, is to establish reasonable minimum fire and life safety requirements for the retail sales of consumer fireworks.  The FPRF report, however, raises serious concerns regarding the technical basis for the requirements of Chapter 7, and calls into question whether sufficient research and other technical substantiation exists to support meaningful standards development in this area.          

Based upon the findings presented in the report, the Council is contemplating the following actions:

a. revising the scope of the Technical Committee on Pyrotechnics (TC), which is responsible for NFPA 1124, so that it no longer covers the retail sale of consumer fireworks, and

b. taking steps to revise the scope of NFPA 1124 to exclude the retail sales of consumer fireworks, and to delete chapter 7 from NFPA 1124.

Prior to making a final decision on this issue, the Council has directed that a notice be published soliciting public input on the Council’s contemplated course of action, or on other proposed courses of action that may be submitted for the Council’s consideration. Furthermore, the Council will be holding a public hearing on Monday June 2, 2008 from 8:00 am until 11:00 am in conjunction with NFPA’s World Safety Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, NV to consider this matter. In making its decision on the matter, the Council will, in addition to the existing record, consider written submissions received by NFPA by Friday, May 9, 2008, as well as information presented at the hearing.

(See Minute Item 07-10-35, Standards Council Meeting of October 3-4, 2007 (PDF, 80 KB), as revised by Minute Item 08-1-8 Standards Council Meeting of January 8, 2008) 

NOTICE:  In accordance with the above Standards Council decision, notice is hereby given: soliciting public input on the Council’s contemplated course of action as indicated in that decision, or on other proposed courses of action that may be submitted for the Council’s consideration; and announcing that the Council will be holding a public hearing on Monday June 2, 2008 from 8:00 am until 11:00 am in conjunction with NFPA’s World Safety Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, NVto consider this matter. Interested parties should be aware of the following additional information. 

Written Submissions. Parties wishing to make written submissions for the Council’s consideration should send them to the attention of the Secretary of the Standards Council at one of the following addresses: by regular mail, at

Codes and Standards Administration
NFPA
One Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA 02169

or, by e-mail. Written submissions should be clearly identified as regarding the Standards Council hearing on consumer fireworks retail sales provisions and should contain the name, affiliation and address of the submitter(s).  Parties are not required to attend or speak at the hearing in order to have their written submissions reviewed and considered by the Council. Regardless of whether or not parties wish to appear at the hearing, all written submissions must be received by NFPA no later than May 9, 2008.

The June 2nd Hearing. The hearing is scheduled for three hours. Since the time for the hearing is limited,  the Council Chair may, at his discretion, limit the number of speakers and/or the time allotted to each speaker. Of course, every effort will be made to assure that sufficient time is afforded for all points of view. In order to facilitate the conduct of the hearing, those wishing to speak at the hearing should notify

Codes and Standards Administration
c/o NFPA
One Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA 02169

or by e-mail by Monday, May 26, 2008. For further information about attending the World Safety Conference and Exposition visit www.nfpa.org/wsce. Registration for the WSCE is not necessary in order to attend the hearing. Updates to this notice will be posted at www.nfpa.org/consumerfireworks.

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing. and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.

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