1. Never smoke when handling fireworks
2. Unpack the fireworks in a safe place away from open fires and easily inflammable material
3. Make sure that the fireworks are all separated from the packaging material
4. Remember that fireworks are fragile
5. Always keep fireworks covered
6. When out of doors, the fireworks box should be covered with a tarpaulin or other spark proof sheet , as a spark could ignite the whole contents
7. Never place fireworks in your pockets
8. Never lean over any firework
9. Always light fireworks with a portfire attached to a stick and held at arms length
10. Always soak any dud fireworks in water
THE CONTENTS OF A DISPLAY
DIY Display Packs normally contain a mixture of Rockets, Roman Candles, Mines, Fountains/Gerbs,Set Pieces, Cakes and Firework Lighters.
Rockets This traditional and much loved firework, which produces its familiar WHOOOOSH!, is easily identified by its stick. These items are fired from a Rocket Launching Frame or Launch Tube, on ignition it is projected high into the air at great speed, to explode into a variety of spectacular effects.
Mines These are, in effect, shells which burst at ground level. They eject a flurry of breathtaking coloured stars and/or noise effects up to 80 ft. Fountain mines are proceeded by a short 10/15 second spray and usually finish with a loud gasp from the crowd.
Roman Candles These traditional multi-shot fireworks, consist of a tube which fires a succession of coloured stars and/or noise effects 30/150 ft into the air. A battery or barrage consists of several candles bunched and fused together for rapid firing, while a bouquet is candles fused together on a fan-like wooden frame.
Fountains/Gerbs A ground firework which produces a spray of sparks which can reach over 20 ft. Some fountains are conic in shape which produces an increased volume of sparks and noise over its burning time.
Cakes Clusters of small roman candles fused together to send a continuous stream of stars and/or noise effects 40-70 ft into the air. The short wide cakes should be placed on a flat surface, while the taller cakes should be stacked or buried in the ground. Finale Boxes can contain up to 300 units and/or a mixture of Mines and Large Candles.
Set Pieces There are many types of set pieces, all must be attached to a suitable post according to the instructions. They can consist of static or rotating fireworks all fused together, which are attached to timber uprights 6-10 ft off the ground. These stunning lattice and mosaic pieces are designed to produce beautiful effects and concentrate the audiences attention for up to 1 minute.
Firework Lighters Portfires are slow burning hand-held fireworks used for lighting other larger fireworks. Burning time is 4-5 minutes. Safety Lighters are glowing pieces of wick which are used to light smaller ground fireworks.
CHOOSING A VENUE
Always choose a suitable site for the display during daylight. Make sure it is large enough to accommodate your firing area and the number of spectators expected. You should avoid a site with restrictions such as overhanging trees, over head cables, difficult access or parking, boggy ground or a site that the spectators will have difficulty in finding! Ensure the site has plenty of access and exit points.
The choice of venue will to a certain extent dictate what kind of fireworks you buy. On a level site, like a playing field, it is advisable to use mainly aerial fireworks (so the spectators at the back can see). If your firing area is elevated you can use ground fireworks to good effect. If a site can be found which has water between the site and the audience then, not only does this provide an ideal natural barrier, but also enhances the effects by acting as a mirror. Ensure that any undergrowth on the site is cleared and the grass cut short in the vicinity of the display area.
THE FIRING SITE
The site should face the prevailing wind, so that any smoke or sparks are blown away from the spectators. The possibility and importance of a sudden change of wind should be remembered as it can result in spent rocket sticks falling amongst the spectators and smoke obscuring much of the beauty of the display. It may be worth having a reserve site available in the case of a change in the wind direction.
The firing area needs to be at least 60 metres wide and 40 metres deep with a fallout area of at least 50 metres deep. The area should be securely fenced off before setting up the display, ideally with interlocking crowd barriers or chestnut paling to ensure the crowd are at least 25 metres from the nearest firework. If you use rope and pin it is advisable to put two lines of rope or tape, one at the top and another halfway down. Spectators should not view the display site from the sides or the back.
WHO SHOULD BE INFORMED
The Police They need to know of any large gathering of people and any traffic congestion.
The Fire Brigade They need to be told of the display and the entrance points to the site in case of an emergency.
The Coast guard If the site is near the sea.
The Airport Inform air traffic control if the site is near an airport.
The Ambulance Service Again they need to know the entrance point in case of an emergency. First Aid Services, Red Cross, St. Johns or St. Andrews should be invited to attend the event.
If close to the site also notify: HOSPITALS, OLD PEOPLES HOMES, FARMERS, ETC. Give everyone the Venue, Date and Time. It is recommended that you hold at least one meeting on the site with the Police, Fire Brigade and Fire Services.
Of course, if you are organising a small, private display you only need notify the police and anyone who may be disturbed by the noise.
Stewards Provide as many as you can for crowd control. This should be no fewer than two for up to 50 and one for each additional 100 persons. Every steward should be readily identifiable, fluorescent waistcoats are ideal or arm bands. Brief the stewards beforehand on the site layout, the plans for the evening and how to evacuate the site in the event of any emergency.
First Aid Services Should be invited to attend and be on duty half an hour before the crowds arrive and remain until the site is cleared.
Firing Team See FIRING PROCEDURES but keep the number of personnel to a minimum.
Public Address For large displays a public address system should be provided and some means of addressing the crowd for smaller displays. Hand held loud hailers are very useful.
Crowd Control Ensure there are a sufficient number of entrances and exits for spectators to be admitted or dispersed in an orderly manner. The possibility of a sudden influx of large numbers of people should be borne in mind.
If you are having a bonfire ensure it is under the control of a competent person who will supervise it throughout the evening. Though there is much to be said for having the bonfire within the display site itself, it may be better to keep it separated, and individually roped off some distance away. If this is not possible, it is suggested that the Bonfire is lit immediately after the conclusion of the display. Flammable liquids should not be used to assist the ignition of the bonfire. The materials to be burned in the fire should be carefully selected to exclude hazardous rubbish, e.g.. aerosols, tins of paint, bottles and any discarded nuclear weapons!, etc. Make should the bonfire embers are properly extinguished before the site is vacated.
The number of operators should be kept to minimum. They should study the manufactures general instructions well before the display, and should preferably have some previous experience in the use of display fireworks. As few firing staff as possible should be used, each having his own tasks allocated. Each should familiarise himself with the firing instructions well beforehand.
The instructions on each firework should be studied carefully, electric torches should be provided for this propose. Firing instructions should never be read for the first time on the night of the display.
All fireworks with aerial effects should be angled away from the spectators to ensure that the remnants fall where they can cause neither injury or damage ( i.e.. the fallout area ).
When setting out the fireworks on the firing site any rockets which cannot be inserted into rocket launchers should be stored close by in a closed box with all the rocket heads pointing away from the spectators. Any fireworks mounted on wooden frames should be inserted into the ground with the frames facing the crowd.
Never angle fireworks over the heads of spectators.
FIREWORK FUSES - General Minimum burning time for fireworks labelled "Garden Fireworks" is 3 seconds and those labelled "Display Fireworks" is 5 seconds, maximum burning time is 15 seconds.
Chinese fireworks have green cord fuse or a white/grey paper fuse. Some may have the fuse hidden below tissue paper, while others may have an orange fuse cover that must be removed.Rockets usually have an orange plastic cover protecting the fuse.
Fireworks modified by Big Bang Fireworks have Green Igniter Cord which burns for approx. 7 seconds after removing the fuse cover.Do not remove the fuse cover until the firework needs to be lit as this offers protection against stray sparks. Some fireworks will have Green Igniter Cord attached to paper Piped Black Match. It is important to understand that only the Igniter Cord is the delay fuse. The Piped Match burns instantly. Lighting the bottom of the Igniter Cord where it joins the Piped Match will cause instant ignition.
Some fireworks still use the traditional Blue Touchpaper, which will slowly smoulder before igniting the fireworks.
PORTFIRES, are specially designed for lighting fireworks, and should only be used. Do not carry Portfires in your pockets. Leave them in a convenient place on the firing site in a closed box.
THE DISPLAY LAYOUT
EQUIPMENT ON THE SITE
An adequate number of fire extinguishers and supplies of sand and water should be provided. Certain stewards should be trained in the operation of fire fighting equipment as advised by the local fire brigade.
First Aid on the Firing Site Have a first aid kit and some clean water. Include with the kit a roll of cling film. Clean any wound with water and wrap in cling film ( excluding any parts of the face ). Cling film is sterile, does not stick to wounds and protects burns, cuts and grazes until medical treatment is available.
Overalls Make sure all operators wear cotton non-flammable overalls - never wear nylon items.
Use all this information in conjunction with the DTI leaflet on Firework Safety. Follow all the instructions carefully and have a successful and safe event.
If in any doubt, do not hesitate to call us on 0115 9730435