Close your eyes and think about your last Fourth of July. What do you see? We’d be willing to bet you’re envisioning those brilliant, colorful explosions in the sky: fireworks! Fireworks are a huge part of the American experience—just ask Katy Perry. However, despite the fact that we see them all the time at sporting events, concerts, and on Independence Day, it’s not as cut and dry to ship fireworks as you might think. This guide is all about how to ship fireworks in the United States…and how to do it legally. Let’s get cracking!
You Need to Be a Certified Hazmat Dealer in Order to Ship Fireworks
First thing’s first: if you want to ship fireworks, you’ll have to obtain a license that certifies you as a hazmat shipper. Unless you’re a certified hazmat shipper, no shipping carrier will touch your fireworks shipment…so don’t even think about it! Also, it’s important to keep in mind that even if you have your hazmat certification, you can only ship fireworks to another certified licensee. If you’re looking to become hazmat certified, visit Transportation Compliance Associates’ website.
I’ve Got My Hazmat Certification—Which Carrier Should I Use?
Unfortunately, the US Postal Service entirely prohibits the shipment of fireworks…even if you’ve got your hazmat certification. If you’re hazmat certified, both FedEx and UPS offer shipping services for hazardous materials and dangerous goods like fireworks.
Remember: carriers classify all types of fireworks as explosives, so they treat them as hazardous shipping materials. That being said, you’ll likely use FedEx’s or UPS’ Ground services for any fireworks shipments.
Our recommendation? We suggest going with FedEx. FedEx handles fireworks shipments for large corporations such as Disney, and they are the industry leader when it comes to shipping dangerous goods. If you want more information, give them a call at 1-800-463-3339 (1-800-GOFEDEX) and follow the prompts to get to the Dangerous Goods Hotline.
Why USPS Won’t Let You Ship Fireworks
The US Postal Service considers fireworks as explosives, so fireworks land on their list of prohibited items. All explosive items are deemed non-mailable with USPS. Before you go asking about firecrackers or roman candles, the answer is still no. USPS prohibits the shipment of all types of fireworks, whether you’re hazmat certified or not.
Laws on Fireworks Vary from State to State
Here’s one last thing to keep in mind. While federal law allows for the shipment of fireworks between states (provided the shipper is hazmat certified), the laws governing consumer fireworks vary from state to state. For example, North Carolina limits fireworks to a charge of 200 grams of black powder, while Massachusetts bans consumer fireworks entirely. Therefore, it never hurts to do some quick research on the different states’ laws to avoid any issues before you send out your fireworks shipment.