American Pyrotechnics

Safety & Education Foundation



        Smoke Signals 

          Fireworks Safety & Education News

    October 2023

Herb Chan, President
Katherine Guccione, Vice President
Jessica Dragoiu, Secretary

A.J. Burns, Treasurer

Dear :

Please take a few minutes to read this update on the recent and upcoming efforts of the APA's Safety & Education Foundation, activities made possible through the generous donations of our supporters. 

Foundation Builds on Accomplishments
During this year’s APA Convention in Tucson, Arizona, Foundation President Herb Chan, United Pyrotechnics, addressed the membership during the Welcome Breakfast, providing an overview of the Foundation and its activities since its inception nine years ago. Mr. Chan highlighted Foundation accomplishments throughout that period which have included:

  • Recruiting strategic partners like former CPSC Chair, Inez Tenenbaum
  • Developing age-appropriate curriculum to help educate youth about fireworks and their safe use.
  • Producing Professor Sparkz videos covering the history, science, and engineering of fireworks as well as how to use them responsibly and identify and avoid illegal explosives.
  • Partnering with affiliated organizations such as the Society for Public Health Educators, Burn Prevention Network, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control, and the CPSC.
  • Raising awareness and funds by creating and distributing safety tip shopping bags and children’s coloring activity books, as well as generating funds through checkout round up and non-taxable line-item donation programs.
  • Filming a series of Consumer Fireworks Safety videos geared to spreading the safety message via social media platforms. This series of videos featured retired Battalion Chief Dean Guccione and targeted the Foundation’s top safety tips in short, digestible clips. These clips are available on our website
  • Building industry wide support by presenting at NFA and exhibiting in their trade show.

President Chan explained the Foundation Board’s desire to build on these and other accomplishments, maintain momentum, and take the next steps to extend its safety message. 

Campaign to Broaden the Fireworks Safety Message
James Fuller, Arena Communications, provided a detailed overview of a comprehensive fireworks safety public relations and media campaign that has been proposed to expand and extend the reach of the Foundation’s safety message. He highlighted the various campaign elements and explained how a tool kit will be made available to APA members to use during their pre-4th of July media contacts. He also explained the objectives of the campaign which will, among other things, generate safe, responsible use messaging, improve customer awareness of illegal explosives, build ongoing relationships with civic groups and other influencers, and ultimately generate positive media coverage.

Mr. Fuller detailed the various campaign features and the numerous resources that will be contained in the tool kit. He also outlined a timeline for executing the campaign, broke down the various budget components, as well as fielded questions from the audience. 

Following Mr. Fuller’s comments, Treasurer A.J. Burns, North Central Industries, addressed the membership, urging them to support this proposal by donating to the Foundation. A minimum fundraising goal of $75,000 was set to coincide with the APA’s 75th anniversary, an amount that would cover first year expenses of this comprehensive initiative.

We are pleased to report that thanks to the generosity of the APA membership, the Foundation was able to meet and exceed this goal. Special recognition is extended to sister organizations including the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory (AFSL) and the Pyrotechnic Guild International Foundation (PGI) for their generous contributions as well as to all those who pledged their support.

For those unable to attend the convention, there is still time to add your support by donating on-line at this link or by contacting President Herb Chan at [email protected] with your pledge and we will gladly invoice you. Remember, contributions are tax deductible.

Spreading the Safety Message

This past September, Foundation Treasurer A.J. Burns conducted a session during the National Fireworks Association (NFA) convention to update the NFA membership on the mission and goals of the Foundation and to solicit their support. He and other Board members including President Herb Chan, Paul Smith, PGI, and Brandon Corn, Fireworks Over America helped staff an information booth in the NFA trade show to distribute Foundation materials and further engage their membership.
We’re thrilled that just under $1,000 was raised by NFA members to aid the Foundation’s activities and we look forward to continued cooperation with the NFA and other industry organizations. 

Fireworks Safety Coloring and Activity Books
During the 2022 and 2023 fireworks seasons, a children's Fireworks Safety Coloring Activity book was produced by Pyro Novelties in partnership with the Foundation and made available to fireworks companies for purchase and distribution to their customers. This fun-filled and informative 16-page activity book allows kids to learn about the safe and proper use of fireworks; information they can share with their parents and other adults in their lives. The books feature Professor Sparkz and were designed to complement the curriculum kits, videos, and other resources currently available on the Foundation's website

Over 150,000 coloring books have been distributed in the past two years which generated book proceeds in excess of $20,000 for the Foundation. 

We hope to meet and exceed this level next year and you can assist us by placing an order for these booklets which make an excellent give-away to customers accompanied by children. We’re also working on a Spanish version of the book to be available for the 2024 season.

Companies wishing quantities for their retail establishment may order them through Pyro Novelties at this link. This is their wholesale store that requires a minimum order of $500 to purchase online. The wholesale cost for the books is .99 cents each (purchased by the case of 250 books - $247.50). Those who wish to purchase just one case of books, please call 800-552-3499 and they will process your order manually.

If you would like to order custom books that incorporate your logo and website on the front and back covers, the minimum order is 5,000 copies and the price per copy is .65 cents each ($3,250), plus freight. Your commitment for purchasing custom books is due by January 31st and you will be invoiced with pre-payment required in February. The books will be printed and ship by the end of March. Please note this expense represents a $1,000 donation to the Foundation and you will receive a donation letter on Foundation letterhead for tax purposes.

We wish to express our sincere gratitude to Foundation Vice President Katherine Guccione, Pyro Novelties, for spearheading the design, production, and distribution of this awesome safety resource. 

Foundation Board
At this past October’s Foundation Board meeting, all four officers were elected to serve another
1-year term.  Herb Chan as President, Katherine Guccione as Vice President, A.J. Burns, Treasurer, and Jessica Dragoiu, Phantom Fireworks as Secretary. Additionally, Matt Rhinehart, Spirit of ‘76 was newly elected to the Board to serve a 3-year term.

Interested in becoming involved? Plan on attending the next in- person Board meeting in Las Vegas next February, we welcome participation by any member who is enthusiastic about promoting fireworks safety and is willing to share their talents.

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