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Know the Safety Guidelines for Traveling With Fireworks

Posted by U.S. Department of Transportation

If you plan to fly or drive to visit family and friends to celebrate Independence Day, please help us keep you and your fellow travelers safe:  leave the fireworks at home. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) want you to arrive at your destination safely.

Fireworks are fun and part of many of our July 4th weekends, but even the smallest firework novelty items such as sparklers, bang snaps, and black snakes are considered explosives and pose a safety risk to airplanes.

Whether in your pockets, carry-ons, or checked baggage, there’s a risk that friction can cause fireworks to ignite during flight, putting you, your fellow passengers, and the crew members at high risk of fire. Because of this, passengers are prohibited from boarding airplanes with fireworks and firework novelty items.

Passengers who take fireworks and firework novelty items onto airplanes may face civil penalties of up to $75,000 per violation, but the penalties could be as high as $175,000 per violation in cases involving death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial destruction of property. And criminal convictions could result in fines and up to five years in prison – and even up to 10 years in prison if a passenger releases a hazardous material that results in death or bodily harm.

In addition to posing real safety dangers on commercial aircraft, fireworks present an explosive or fire hazard when transporting them in your vehicle.

If you are transporting fireworks for your own use, remember these safety tips:

  • Never attempt to light a firework or fuse within your vehicle, either as the driver or as a passenger;
  • Never smoke near fireworks nor while handling them;
  • Transport fireworks in a spark-proof container, such as a cardboard box. Firework assortments are typically packaged in spark-proof materials;
  • Transport fireworks in your trunk, not in the passenger compartment; and,
  • If driving a van or other vehicle without a trunk, always ensure the fireworks are kept out of direct sunlight.

For more information on packing safely for a flight, go to Fireworks Don't Fly or FAA’s Pack Safe website

If you are a fireworks manufacturer looking for information about the fireworks classification approval, go to PHMSA’s website pertaining to regulations and fireworks.