Be in the Know: Hazmat Shipping for Smoke Bombs

Be in the Know: Hazmat Shipping for Smoke Bombs

We’ve all been there- you want to order some premium Smoke Effect smoke bombs for your next photoshoot. You’re o excited to add that captivating pop of color to your next photography event. You’re heading to checkout, and- wait, what? Why am I being charged for Hazmat shipping? What even is Hazmat shipping? And why do I need to sign for my package upon delivery?

Here at Smoke Effect, we value transparency in our shipping practices. We frequently get asked about our Hazmat shipping, so we wanted to let our customers behind the curtain. Keep reading to learn about what Hazmat shipping is, so you’re in the know for your next Smoke Effect purchase!

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What is Hazmat shipping?

Hazardous material shipping, commonly referred to as hazmat shipping, is a specialized mode of transportation that involves the shipping of materials that are classified as hazardous goods. The transportation of hazardous materials is regulated by various organizations, including the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the United States. To ensure the safety of the public and the environment, strict guidelines and safety protocols must be followed during the transportation of hazardous materials.

Why do you use Hazmat Shipping?

Most of our smoke grenades are part of the 1.4 Explosive Hazards Class, so they are considered hazardous materials, or hazmat for short. When packages contain hazardous materials, they can pose a significant safety risk to all those involved in transportation. Because of this, the Department of Transportation requires all hazardous materials to be shipped specially- aka, through Hazmat Shipping.

Hazmat packages must be shipped through a Special Courier, which involves extra steps to safely get your package to you. These extra steps, plus DOT regulations, cause the shipping to be more expensive. That is why we charge at least $35 for all hazmat packages under $150- so we can cover the cost of shipping, follow government regulations, and be safe.

All that to say- if we didn’t have to charge extra money for shipping, we wouldn’t. We want you to get your smoke bombs as fast, and as cheap, as possible! However, these regulations are in place to keep shippers, and yourself, safe.

Do all your smoke bombs require Hazmat shipping?

Nope! We have some great options if you’re looking for smoke bombs that don't require hazmat shipping. Our Wicks activate with a fuse and give off a very similar smoke cloud to our popular RP30’s. Additionally, we also offer smoke balls! Don’t be fooled by their size- they pack a punch when activated.

Which of your smoke bombs require Hazmat shipping?

A good rule of thumb for smoke bombs is, that if they have a ring pull, they require Hazmat shipping. Because of this, our RP90’s, Dual Vents, and RP30’s all require Hazmat shipping.

What’s the difference between Hazmat shipping and regular shipping?

There are a few ways Hazmat shipping differs from regular, non-hazardous shipping. One, your package may come looking a little different than you’re used to. Instead of just a plain box, there will be some indicators that it is a hazardous package- including a sticker for the Hazard class, a paper with details for the shipper, etc.

Two, once we’ve shipped your package, it must be sent to a Hazardous Material Certified FedEx hub, instead of a standard FedEx hub. These hazmat-certified facilities work very similarly to standard hubs, and should not cause any delays in the shipping of your package.

Additionally, one way that hazmat shipping differs from regular shipping is that you must be present to sign for your package when it’s delivered. While many packages can be left on your porch or in your mailbox, however, this is not the case for hazardous materials. If you are purchasing from us, please be prepared to sign for your package upon delivery.

Why do you have to sign for hazardous materials?

This is part of the legal regulations for shipping materials. Due to the nature of hazardous materials, an adult must be present to physically pick up the package upon delivery. It cannot be left outside and unattended. These are regulations out of our control, and we cannot void signatures on packages.

Much like the shipping price, if we didn’t have to require a signature, we wouldn’t. But we need to be safe and follow all regulations, so we can continue giving you the highest quality, most colorful smoke bombs on the market. So be on the lookout for a FedEx delivery man on the day of delivery!

What if I’m not home when they deliver?

FedEx will attempt delivery three times and then will mark the package as unclaimed. At that time, they will hold it at the nearest Hazmat Certified FedEx Facility for a week, and then ship it back to us. Once we get the package back to us, you will be refunded according to our policy, which can be found here.

How can I ensure I get my package if I work away from home?

We understand that signing for your package isn’t always the most convenient, especially if you aren’t home during the day. Here are some ways our customers have been able to receive their packages-

  1. Put the delivery address as your workplace. We can ship to nearly any business in the U.S., besides Alaska and Hawaii, as long as the address isn’t a PO box. If necessary, please get permission from your work before doing this- we don’t want any angry bosses in our email! But, if allowed, this is one of the best ways to ensure you receive your package on time.
  2. Assign someone from your household to sign the package. As long as they are over 18 and home at the time of delivery, they can sign for the package and keep it safely home until you arrive. Please coordinate who will be doing this, and make sure that they will be home during the estimated delivery period. 
  3. Coordinate with your local Hazmat Certified FedEx Facility. As a last resort, you may be able to schedule a pickup at the facility where your package is being held. Please note that not all facilities can arrange this, especially if the package is already out for delivery.

photo credit: @stilljustabill

Do you have any other questions about hazmat shipping? Feel free to email us! Our friendly Customer Service team is available Monday through Friday from 9-4 MST, and will be happy to assist you with any inquiries.  

So, now that you’re caught up to speed, why not pick out the perfect smoke bomb for your next event? Try out our selection quiz here to receive your personalized recommendation and a special discount code. We can’t wait to see what you create!