The headline to this story sounds a little like a Jeff Foxworthy stand-up routine, but the message is a serious one. The state fire marshal wants people to know how to tell if the fireworks they are lighting up this week are legal.

Here are the signs your fireworks may be illegal:

  1. They weren t purchased from a licensed fireworks stand
  2. They aren t packaged in bright colors and have safety warnings on the packaging
  3. The packaging doesn t indicate the country of manufacture
  4. It s not wrapped in bright colorful paper, typically wrapped with plain brown paper
  5. It s a solid red, silver or brown in color
  6. It resembles a roll of coins with a fuse coming out the side
  7. The person selling you the fireworks tells you they bought it in another state because of Washington fireworks laws
  8. If it looks homemade:

-- Wrapped in electrical tape

-- Fuse isn t taped down

Here are the seven main requirements for what make fireworks legal:

  • Signal Word

This is designed to attract the user s attention that the information is important and should be read. It will contain either WARNING or CAUTION .

  • Statement of Hazard

The statement of hazard is designed to warn the user of the specific aspect of the item s operation that may result in the potential for injury. A statement of hazard includes statements such as:





  • Must have instructions for use and necessary safety precautions to be observed.
  • Must have labeling with the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, distributor, or seller.
  • Must have the name of the Country of Manufacture.
  • Must have the United States Department of Transportation designation as Division 1.4G Consumer Fireworks or Division 1.3G Special Fireworks. There is a significant difference between fireworks marked Division 1.4G Consumer Fireworks or Division 1.3G Special Fireworks. Division 1.3G Special Fireworks are also referred to as Commercial Grade or Professional Display Fireworks.
  • Must have label wording prominently located, in the English language, and in conspicuous and legible type in contrast by typography, layout, or color with the printed matter on the fireworks device or container.
  • Must have packaging - bright, colorful paper.

This information, including more on the USDOTdesignations for fireworks, can be found on the Washington State Patrol website.

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