Millions of fireworks will once again be set off on the last day of the year. Improper use may result in personal injury and property damage. At its annual press conference on 14th December the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) informed how fireworks should be used properly.
Before rockets, bangers or composite fireworks are allowed on the European and thus the German market, they have to be tested for their safety. Tested fireworks are marked with a registration number and the CE marking along with the verifier’s identification number. Verifiers are neutral, independent organisations appointed by the respective member states to the EU Commission. In addition to BAM, there are currently 12 notified bodies in Europe that test fireworks in accordance with the EU’s Directive on Pyrotechnic Articles [2013/29/EU].
In addition to EU rules, there are country-specific regulations for the use of fireworks. For example, F2 category fireworks products, which also include New Year's Eve rockets, firework batteries, bangers and fountains, may only be purchased and used in Germany by people aged 18 and older. In addition, category F2 rockets with more than 20g of explosive content may only be purchased and ignited by people with a special permit or certificate.
"We advise consumers to buy only tested fireworks and read the user manual carefully before use," says BAM pyrotechnics expert Dr. Christian Lohrer. "In particular, it is important to maintain the recommended safety distance and not hold bangers in your hand when igniting them."
In addition to approved firework items, however, illegal pyrotechnic articles are still entering Germany. BAM warns explicitly against the use of these often dangerous fireworks. "Illegal bangers often contain a mixture of explosive substances whose impacts are unpredictable," says Heidrun Fink, head of testing at BAM’s Explosives Division. "They can cause serious injury or loss of limbs."
BAM advises customers buying fireworks to look for the registration number and the CE marking along with the verifier’s identification number as well as a German language user manual.
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“.