Fireworks a big boom for business; safety is key



A July 4th fireworks display at Boiler Bay in Lincoln County.

Jack Applegate

Posted: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 11:23 am

Updated: 11:37 am, Tue May 29, 2012.

Fireworks a big boom for business; safety is key

by Jack Applegate, Building Official, City of Astoria

Coast River Business Journal


The Fourth of July Holiday is quickly approaching and with it comes some important information for businesses to ensure a safe and fun holiday season.

Fireworks stands can be a big boost for local nonprofit groups and businesses. But before business owners begin selling July 4 fireworks, they need to be aware of key state, county and city requirements.

Enforcement of the rules is a cooperative and coordinated effort of the Office of State Fire Marshal and local building, fire and law enforcement officials.

Much of the information below is aimed particularly at Clatsop County and City of Astoria businesses:

Retail sales

Retail sales of fireworks – under a valid permit – can be conducted from June 23 through July 6.

The person in charge of the fireworks stand must be at least 18 years old and be in the stand at all times it is open.

All retail fireworks not sold during the time the retail permit is valid must be returned to the supplying wholesaler no later than July 31 of the year in which the permit is valid.

Question: Who is the state contact for retail sales permits?

Answer: The state fire marshal. More information is available by calling 503-378-3473 or by visiting

Q: When are city or county permits required for sales stands and tents?

A: All tents and stands greater than 200 square feet in size require a building permit. A fire department operational permit also is required per the Oregon Structural Specialty Code and the Oregon Fire Code. Any electrical installations will require electrical permits and approvals prior to use. Most of the rules can be found in those codes and under ORS 837. Please see the following permit checklist:

  1. 1. Have all required local and state permits been obtained? (They all are required, but not in any specific order.)
    a. State fire marshal
    b. Local fire department operational permits as required by Oregon Fire Code Section 105.6C Fireworks, retail sales. An operational Retail Sales of Fireworks permit is required to sell fireworks at retail to individual members of the general public as described in ORS 480.127.
    c. Electrical permits
    d. Sign permits
    e. Other permits: Occupational tax license, city business license, etc.
  2. Is the retail sales permit, or a copy of the permit, posted in the stand/tent?
  3. Is the individual responsible for sales the same person as listed on the permit?
  4. Does the address of the stand/tent match the address listed on the permit?
  5. Does the size of the stand/tent match the size listed on the permit? (It may be reduced, but not increased without reapplying.)

Q: What are the requirements for tent and stand placement?

A: The list below includes the provisions for placement:

  • One exit opening or outward swing exit door is required for each 1,000 square feet or each 20 feet of structure length.
  • Exit openings shall be at least 2 feet wide and 5 feet high.
  • Trailers shall have their wheels blocked or removed or the tongue locked and the trailer disconnected from any source that can move it.
  • All fuel tanks, including propane, shall be empty or removed.
  • Tents, canopies or tables may be used if they comply with Oregon Fire and Building Code requirements.
  • Tents, canopies, sawdust, etc., shall be treated so as to be fire retardant.
  • There shall be a minimum of one 2A-rated water-type extinguisher or the equivalent, or as determined by the fire authority, at each sales site.
  • Smoking, open flames, or the use of fireworks is not allowed within 100 feet of the stand.
  • “NO SMOKING” signs shall be posted on all outside stand walls in 2.5-inch-high lettering on a white background.
  • Sales structures shall be a minimum of 50 feet from flammable liquid/gas dispensers, 15 feet from streets or public right-of-way, 10 feet from combustible structures and 20 feet from sources of ignition.

Q: What are the requirements once the tent or stand is open?

A: The list below highlights the main points.

  • One person, at least 18 years old, must be in the stand at all times when it is open.
  • The individual responsible for sales must be available for contact day or night.
  • Sales to children younger than 16 are not allowed.
  • Smoking, open flames or lighting fireworks within 100 feet of the stand is not allowed.
  • Heaters having exposed electrical
  • elements or open flames shall not be used.
  • The area within 20 feet of the stand must be kept clean and orderly.
  • The retail sales permit or a copy must be posted at the stand while it is open.

The first step in the permit process should always be to contact your local building official’s office and the state Fire Marshal’s Office to verify the local requirements.

© 2012 Coast River Business Journal . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012 11:23 am.

Updated: 11:37 am.

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