RoSPA Safer Fireworks

Setting Up a Display

What to do...Display Design

Before designing your display, you should have appointed a firing team who will light the fireworks. This should be no more than 3 people with 1 person in overall charge of the team. The firing team should have previous experience of lighting fireworks and should have a good knowledge of safety issues.

For an exciting and colourful event, plan your display well.

  • Work out a firing script – decide which firework will be let off at which time and in what order
  • Start with noisy effects and cycles of fireworks at ground level, then low level, then effects high in the sky, back to ground level again, ending with a real flourish
  • Start with set pieces at the front, move onto novelty candles and batteries to high level rockets and shells. By pre-sorting, you can have different effects, colours and noises
  • Follow the instructions on the labels carefully
  • Set up the display in daylight and practice the firing schedule at least once beforehand
  • Make sure you have a torch so you can read the instructions in the dark during the display
  • Ensure you have enough timber for static pieces, as some may need to be nailed to stakes
  • These should be set up in advance of the event and assembled carefully to avoid damaging the firework or fuse
  • Only use launcher tubes for rockets – never use milk bottles, buckets or stake them in the ground
  • Do not use matches or a lighter to light the fuses. Have waterproof matches to light the portfire
  • Do not allow anyone to smoke when handling fireworks or in the firing area when the display is set up
  • When setting up, follow the instructions as to how far away fireworks should be placed from each other
  • Do not use mortar tubes for more firings than specified in the instructions
  • Put the last firework in place about 30 minutes before the display and ensure the area is well guarded to avoid accidental lighting or sabotage. Cover them with plastic bags to avoid wet from rain and dew.

After your display

  • Keep the public away from the safety, display and fallout area until after the site is cleared
  • Wait until after the display is finished before collecting spent, dud or misfired fireworks
  • If cold, fully spent fireworks can be put into the bin
  • If a firework fails to go off, leave it for at least 30 minutes before lifting. It can then be made safe by immersing it in water. Wear gloves, goggles and hold at arms length when lifting
  • Do not remove misfired mines from mortar tubes. Fill the tubes with water overnight and remove them the next day
  • Come back the next day during daylight to completely clear the site.
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