Michigan Fireworks Permits
As of January 1, 2012, Michigan's fireworks law has changed to allow the purchase and use of all consumer fireworks. The use of bottle rockets, roman candles, firecrackers, and aerial shells (mortars) is now legal. The below information regarding professional displays is still accurate, and will be updated as time permits.
If you want to know how to get a permit in Michigan, READ THIS! It's a bit lengthy, but should answer your questions.
The permit process in Michigan is governed by the local "Authority Having Jurisdiction" (AHJ), which in most cases will be the township board or city commission. Many times these authorities are not aware of the proper process for issuing a fireworks permit. Many township boards meet only once a month, so you should plan on at least one month to get this completed. More time for planning is better. Be aware that if you desire to do fireworks next to or over a navigable body of water, Federal regulations require that the US Coast Guard issue a permit as well, and this must be submitted at least 135 days in advance of the show. On an inland lake, you may need to obtain a Michigan DNR permit as well.
First, download and read the document titled "What Township Officials Need to Know About Michigan/Federal Fireworks Regulations". (PDF 96KB) You will need Adobe Reader to read this. Not everything written in this document will apply to Consumer Fireworks.
If you are using 1.4G Consumer Fireworks (formerly known as Class C), only the Michigan regulations apply. Note that page 2 of this document discusses Federal requirements for fireworks shows. If you desire to use only Consumer Fireworks (1.4G) in your show, then you do not need an ATF permit to purchase and store them because the ATF does not regulate 1.4G Consumer Fireworks. Consumer Fireworks are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Federal regulations as discussed here apply only to Display Fireworks (1.3G).
Read the Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL 750.243a, et seq.) on fireworks, you can search the Michigan Legislature web site for "fireworks", or you can view the law in PDF format here.
Standards from the National Fire Protection Association that are listed include NFPA 1123, NFPA 1124, and NFPA 1126. These are available online from NFPA. NOTE: These standards do not currently address the USE of 1.4G Consumer Fireworks; only manufacture, transportation, storage, and retail sale. Therefore it should not be necessary to consult these standards for a 1.4G Consumer Fireworks display. Keep in mind that it is prudent to maintain sufficient safety distances.
Michigan has no formal training requirements for fireworks display operators, although some jurisdictions may have operator qualification requirements. It is up to the local authority to rule on the competency of the operator. Captain Boom suggests that the operator be a legal adult for a consumer display. Federal law requires that the lead operator must be 21 for a professional 1.3G display.
If the display will make use of 1.3G Display Fireworks, then the Federal ATF permit requirements must be met. There are no Federal requirements for training. Captain Boom highly recommends that display operators take the Display Operator Certification course sanctioned by the Pyrotechnics Guild International, Inc. Fireworks Display Operators should also attend any training seminars put on by the company they will work for.
Michigan law requires proof of financial responsibility in the form of insurance or a bond. Our experience is that implementation of this requirement varies widely. Some townships only require a signed indemnification agreement holding the township harmless. If the township decides to require insurance for a 1.4G Consumer Fireworks show, Captain Boom suggests that the property owner's policy be considered sufficient. For a 1.3G Display Fireworks show, companies such as Captain Boom will typically offer at least a 1 million dollar liability policy for a crew-fired professional show.
To obtain copies of the Application For Fireworks Display Permit (form FM-51) and Fireworks Display Permit (form FM-49) please submit our inquiry form with the appropriate box checked.
If you have further questions regarding training, insurance or the NFPA documents discussed above, please contact Captain Boom.