Regulations for Pyrotechnics Permits
During the 2009 NYS legislative session, several significant changes were made to state laws regulating fireworks and pyrotechnics. These changes expand the authority of local agencies to issue permits for displays of fireworks at private events such as weddings and parties, and address various safety issues to better protect localities and the public.
Permits for displays of fireworks at private events
Penal Law section 405.00 regulates fireworks display permits. It was amended to expand the authority to issue permits for uses beyond "public displays." It allows individuals to obtain permits for fireworks displays at private events.
Additional safety protections
Increased safety and public protection measures were added as part of the amendment. These measures include the following:
- The pyrotechnic operator in charge of the display must have state certification. See Penal Law section 405.00(2), General Business Law Article 28-D, and 12 NYCRR Part 61;
- New regulations that adopt modern safety standards replaced outdated statutory safety standards. See Penal Law section 405.00(3) and 12 NYCRR Part 61, adopting NFPA 1123 Code for Fireworks Display (2010 edition); and
- The minimum bond or insurance amount required by the permit authority increased from $5,000 to $1,000,000. See Penal Law section 405.00(4).
The new state certification requirements are administered and enforced by the Commissioner of Labor. The regulatory process places a single, state-certified pyrotechnician in charge of each display as the designated "operator." The operator is responsible for ensuring that the display conforms to the standards of NFPA 1123. The operator also must authorize and supervise everyone else who works on the display as "authorized assistants." See 12 NYCRR sections 61-6.1(a) (definitions). Under this regulatory process, authorized assistants who work under the supervision of the certified operator may also be certified pyrotechnicians. In this case, their certification also qualifies them to step in and assume the role of certified operator, if necessary.
Authorized assistants who are not certified pyrotechnicians can perform any task and assume any responsibility on the display, so long as they do so under the supervision of the certified operator.
To qualify as an authorized assistant, an individual must be:
- at least 18 years old;
- trained in the performance of the tasks to be assigned, and;
- educated with regard to safety hazards.
The certified operator must confirm these qualifications are met before designating someone as an authorized assistant.
In considering the relationship between this regulatory process and the specific permitting requirements of Penal Law section 405.00, as amended, the Commissioner's regulations provide as follows:
(g) Permits under Penal Law Section 405.00. Fireworks displays subject to the permitting requirements of Penal Law Section 405.00 may be conducted by a single certified operator, who shall ensure that a sufficient number of authorized assistants are available for the safe conduct of the fireworks display.
(1) Applications for permits. Applications for permits under Penal Law Section 405.00 shall identify such certified operator together with any other certified pyrotechnicians who will be available to serve as the certified operator, as the persons actually in charge of the firing of the display, or the individuals authorized to fire the display, or both.
(2) Firing the display. The firing of the display, as that term is used above and in Penal Law Section 405.00, shall refer to the actions of the certified operator in issuing a signal to start, or halt, the ignition of fireworks, but shall not include the actions of authorized assistants, including shooters, who ignite fireworks in response to such signal.
(3) Second operator. The certified operator may designate an authorized assistant to serve as a second operator to comply with permits that require, pursuant to Penal Law Section 405.00, that there shall be two operators constantly on duty during the discharge of fireworks. The certified operator shall continue to supervise the authorized assistant who has been designated as a second operator.
For the full text of these rules, see Penal Law section 405.00 and General Business Law Article 28-D, as amended by Laws of 2009, Chapter 57, Part CC, at sections 16-21, page 61; and implementing regulations published at 12 NYCRR Part 61 (opens in a new window). On July 1, 2010 the Attorney General issued an opinion (opens in a new window) on communities issuing permits for private display of fireworks.
Here is a Generic Pyrotechnic Permit Application that can be used by communities for accepting applications for Pyrotechnic displays.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the New York State Department of Labor's Licensing and Certification Unit at (518) 457-2735. You may also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
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