There are two main classifications of fireworks, consumer fireworks that are less powerful, and are used by the average 4th of July party host at their annual backyard barbecue, and display fireworks. These are the heavy duty, extremely volatile variety that should only be used by professionals. Most states in the United States allow consumer fireworks. Only six states ban all consumer fireworks except sparklers, and only a few more ban consumer fireworks altogether.
Fireworks are beautiful, creative, exciting, and dangerous, when you don’t know how to handle them. Anytime you are around anything that contains explosives you need to use caution and common sense.
1. Sparklers are familiar to everyone, and one of the few forms of fireworks that are fairly safe for children, under supervision. They produce a variety of colored sparks, and are fairly harmless.
2. Smoke and Color bombs are usually included in fireworks packages in states that forbid most consumer fireworks. They do not explode or make noise. They basically emit smoke in various colors.
3. Snap pops are a favorite among the younger set. These are little, exploding balls that pop when you throw them against a hard surface, or step on them.
4. Bottle rockets, usually fired from a pop bottle launcher, are the rocket of choice for home displays. They provide some light when fired, but mostly noise.
5. Cherry bombs, Silver Salutes, and other potent little noisemakers are very loud, and very dangerous, if they happen to explode while you are holding them. These are in the family of the small, but loud firecracker. The smaller Lady Finger varieties usually come in a pack of twenty or more with wicks woven together. They are less harmful, and can be fired one at a time or together to make a continuous popping sound.
6. Pinwheels are an assembly of several firecrackers, and rockets assembled in a circle, on a spinning base. They are fastened to a post, and when lit, they spin, emitting sparks and color.
7. Roman candles are fireworks that have a little bit of everything. These noise makers, hiss, go high into the air, and explode, loudly.
8. Fountains shoot high into the air and emit showers of colored sparks. There may be multiple showers that are accompanied with loud retorts. There are also ground versions.
9. There are thousands of varieties of novelty fireworks, such as little cars, airplanes, and others that actually speed along hard surfaces when ignited and emit sparks and noise.
If you are planning on purchasing consumer fireworks and they are legal in your state, use extreme caution. Fire these only in open areas, and away from homes, and combustible materials.