14/12/2016

Image of fireworks in the sky

Fireworks in the sky

Source: BAM

The Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) held a press conference today to caution people about the safe handling of fireworks on New Year's Eve.

Millions of fireworks will once again be lit to welcome in the New Year. These rockets, firecrackers or composite fireworks must be tested for their safety before being allowed to enter the European and German market.

Fireworks are tested in Europe by notified bodies in accordance with the Directive on pyrotechnic articles [2013/29/EU] (German version only). These bodies are neutral and independent organisations that are notified to the EU Commission by the respective Member States. In addition to BAM, there are currently 14 other notified bodies in Europe.

Tested fireworks are recognisable by the registration number and the CE marking along with the identification number of the verifier that confirms the manufacturer’s quality assurance. BAM’s identification number is 0589 which is valid across Europe.

But beware: In addition, there are country-specific regulations for the use of fireworks. For example, in Germany, category F2 fireworks products, including New Year's Eve rockets, fireworks batteries, bangers or fountains may only be bought and used by individuals over 18 years of age. Also, category F2 rockets with more than 20 grams of explosive composition may only be purchased and lit by individuals with a special permit or license.

"The current legal situation for the purchase and use of fireworks is not always easy for lay people to understand as both EU law and national law apply", says Dr. Christian Lohrer, pyrotechnics expert at BAM. "In order to safely use and enjoy their own New Year’s Eve fireworks in Germany, consumers should only buy fireworks tested in Germany."

BAM demonstrated various approved pyrotechnic articles at its press conference and explained how fireworks are tested at BAM. For example, the test checks whether the firework prototype supplied by the manufacturer is in accordance with the technical drawing, the stated quantities are correct and no unacceptable substances have been used. The fireworks are also tested to see if their construction is able to withstand the stresses during handling, transport and storage, and whether the specified requirements for the time delay after ignition, sound values and direction and height of flight are complied with.

In addition to approved fireworks, illegal pyrotechnic articles are still entering Germany. BAM explicitly warns the public against the use of these often dangerous fireworks.

"We cannot predict how non-approved bangers react due to the uncertain mixture of explosive substances", says Heidrun Fink, BAM's chief pyrotechnics analyst. "The result is often serious injuries or even loss of limbs."

When buying fireworks, BAM advises customers to look for the registration number and the CE marking along with the verifier’s identification number as well as a German user manual. At the same time the old national approval number is also valid for the coming New Year’s Eve.

For more information on fireworks and their safe handling visit our website.

About BAM

BAM promotes safety in technology and chemistry.

As a BMWi departmental research institute, BAM performs research, testing and offers advisory support to protect people, the environment and material goods. Its activity in the fields of materials science, materials engineering and chemistry is focussed on the technical safety of products and processes. BAM’s research is directed towards substances, materials, building elements, components and facilities as well as natural and technical systems important for the national economy and relevant to society. It also tests and assesses their safe handling and operation. BAM develops and validates analysis procedures and assessment methods, models and necessary standards and provides science-based services for the German industry in a European and international framework.

Safety creates markets

BAM sets and represents high standards for safety in technology and chemistry for Germany and its global markets to further develop the successful German quality culture "Made in Germany“.