Shooting Fireworks (of course)
Club shoots occur at least twice annually (generally three-to-four annually) and serve as a method by which members may refine training, safely practice new and unusual firework effects under controlled conditions, research cause/effect of intentional malfunctions, watch firework demonstrations and shoot their own fireworks. We normally require a nominal fee ($5.00 or so) for each shoot to offset expenses such as permits, logistics and clean-up. These are private events for the membership given security, safety and regulatory restrictions although non-member guests may attend if escorted and monitored by a qualified member.
Benefit displays occur at varying frequency (generally two annually). These events are for charitable causes which the public and members support. Funding for the fireworks is a mixture of public donations and member contributions with shortfalls funded by the corporation. Examples of this type of display are annual benefits for the American Cancer Society and Tee-it-up-for-the-Troops (the events are fundraisers for the charitable cause and the fireworks are presented for the public to enjoy as part of the overall event). The membership serves as the volunteer set-up crews.
Member displays occur at varying frequency (generally two-or-three times annually). These events are either creative attempts at developing unusual display styles or celebratory events such as birthdays/weddings. These displays are open to the public although specialized (e.g. weddings are performed for the guests of the event). The corporation does not fund these events. All costs are borne by the member personally.
Event displays occur at varying frequency (generally eight-to-twelve annually). The purpose is to perform displays for public enjoyment associated with national, state or local holidays and celebrations. The displays are performed for the public and funded by event sponsor donation to the corporation. Displays of this type are crafted to emphasize the historical role of fireworks in relation to the holiday or celebration and our membership serves as the volunteer crews.
Building, Training and Regulatory Compliance
Building and training events occur at varying frequency (generally four-to-five times annually) and serve as a method by which the skilled and experienced members impart their training and knowledge to interested participants. Topics vary from: how to build a firework shell from start to finish; how to build wheels; how to build mines; how to build comets; formal safety training for certification and experience credits; and, seminars associated with regulatory compliance and creative display choreography. The members may be required to pay nominal material fees to offset expenses for chemicals, supplies, manuals and hand-outs. These events are oriented to the membership although non-member guests may attend if escorted and monitored by a member.
The issue of regulatory compliance is important in the fireworks world. While we recognize that the hobbyist can and should enjoy a significant degree of personal freedom we also note that there is a legitimate need to understand the role of the various alphabet agencies. For example:
Federal permits are required to purchase, manufacture, use, transport and store fireworks which are classified as explosives and subject to the administration of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The corporation encourages members to comply with all applicable regulations by way of frequent discussion, sharing experience in dealing with various agents, by maintaining a legally approved magazine for storage and by example in legally conducted operations.
The transport of fireworks is subject to administration by the Department of Transportation at both the federal and state level (USDOT and MNDOT respectively) and requires a $5,000,000 liability insurance policy. The corporation encourages members to comply with all applicable transport regulations by example in our activities. This includes coordinating with qualified professionals regarding driver training, loading requirement training, sharing knowledge and experience of how to operate safely.
The State of Minnesota Fire Marshall’s Office administers the licensing and permit approval process required for firework displays. Notable in this oversight is that all class B firework displays in Minnesota are deemed to be public, require a permit/approval process, must be conducted under the direct supervision of a state licensed display operator and require a $1,000,000 liability insurance policy. The corporation encourages members to comply with all state and local requirements by example in conducting legal firework display events. We do so by obtaining the necessary permits, by training of members who are or wish to become licensed display operators and assistants for firework displays and by verifying the experience credits needed for licensing.
Public Service and Education
We assist local units of government regarding the removal and disposition of confiscated fireworks. For example, a local police department has confiscated a number of fireworks and needs to dispose of them. We will authorize a member to go to their storage site and review the items for safety issues, remove them, temporarily store them in a legal magazine, and destroy them (typically by burning, wet down and/or shooting them off). We do this without fee as a public service subject to our logistical capabilities.
We make ourselves available to the local media regarding the safe and joyous use of fireworks. For example, an authorized member will appear on local TV shows and other media prior to the 4th of July to explain how fireworks function, an overview of which fireworks are legal for consumer use and to educate the public via the media on the safe use of fireworks in celebrations. We do this without fee as a public service.