With the Fourth of July approaching, local fireworks stores are experiencing shortages due to global shipping delays, container shortages and the closure of Chinese factories.
“I don’t think any of us expected the shortage to have this much of an impact on receiving supply,” said Kathy Brasfield, an employee at Stateline Fireworks in Heflin. “Where we would usually order 10 cases of fireworks, we could only get four.”
Many retailers order their holiday supply from overseas, with products shipping by boat from China to ports in Charleston, S.C., and Long Beach, Calif.
“Where it used to take 21 days to receive inventory at my storefront, it now takes triple that,” said Brian Autry, owner of BOGO Fireworks in Oxford.
Autry ascribed the delays in shipping to underemployed ports.
At Stateline Fireworks, which is decorated with red, white and blue banners and small American flags on top of stacked displays, owner Pearl Perry said business is still good, but it’s not like it used to be.
Autry agreed. “Our season last year was so great because of the high demand of inventory. People weren’t traveling, but instead needed something to do at home with their families,” he said.
Fireworks laws and safety
According to Anniston’s City Ordinance No. 16-9-25 Sec 11.24, it is illegal to possess, sell or handle fireworks within the city limits of Anniston.
However, the City of Oxford has no laws against the shooting of fireworks.
“Although it is legal to shoot fireworks within Oxford city limits, it is important to be respectful of your neighbors,” Oxford police Capt. L.G. Owens said.
Oxford fire Assistant Chief Ben Stewart encouraged those who choose to shoot fireworks to use precautions.
Stewart detailed the common injuries seen during the holiday weekend, and urged the public to protect their hands and eyes when lighting flammable objects.
“It is important to avoid dry, grassy areas, keep water nearby, supervise your children and keep the fireworks outdoors,” Stewart said. “Have fun, and stay safe.”