Fireworks Safety Advice
CATEGORIES OF FIREWORKS FOR SALE IN THE UK TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC
- F1 - Indoor fireworks close proximity
- F2 - Minumum 8 metres safety distance
- F3 - Minimum 25 metres safety distance
F1 fireworks are typically indoor products such as ice fountains, some small sparklers, and party poppers - close proximity novelty types
F2 fireworks have a powder weight (NEC) up to 500g. There is an exception to this rule in the form of a compound firework, where you have multiple individual barrages that are up to 500g powder weight (NEC) each, glued to a board with a linked fused in the factory of manufacture. These compounds can have a combined powder weight of up to a maximum of 4kg giving duration and spectacular effects. Minimum safety distance 8 metres.
F3 fireworks have a powder weight (NEC) over 500g and up to 1000g. Again there is an exception to this rule in the form of a compound firework, where you have multiple individual cakes up to a maximum of 1000g powder weight (NEC) that are glued to a board and linked fused in the factory of manufacture. These compounds can have a combined powder weight of up to 4kg maximum, giving duration and spectacular effects. Minimum safety distance 25 metres.
So, always check your firing site and meterage, then decide if you require F2 and/or F3.
PREPARATION IS THE KEY TO A SAFE DISPLAY
- So now let's look at the site you will be firing from. You have checked your distances and decided if you can have F2 or F3 fireworks. Now make further observations of your area, such as trees, nearby properties, overhead power lines, and telephone lines. These are important factors to consider when choosing your fireworks. You don't want a fan barrage if there's a tree at the side that's overhanging halfway into your garden. So, in that instance, you would purchase a straight-up firing barrage where you can move it to the side so it is not obstructed and it will quite easily break above the tree.
- Allocate one person to light the fireworks. This person should be alcohol and drug-free. NEVER drink or take drugs when using fireworks.
- PPE is a must when lighting fireworks. Safety gloves, eye protection, Head touch or hand touch, hard hat, overalls, and good strong boots. All these can be purchased cheaply online or at workwear stores.
- Try to order your fireworks early so you can familiarise yourself with the products you will be firing, giving you time to read the labels. The last thing you want to do is leave it until you're about to light them. Every firework is different so it's important to read the label. This will give you all the information you need, for instance, if the product is a fan then this will be labelled with either an arrow indicating the direction for the spectators or 'face this way' signage is another indicator. The label will also give you safety information, powder weight, tube size, safety distance, F2 or F3, and tell you what you should do to secure the firework. All our fireworks at Fireworks Shop are rigorously tested to ensure that they comply with CE standards.
- Securing fireworks, there's a number of ways and the most common is to bury the firework. However, as a display operator, it would be impractical to go to a venue with a spade and start digging up the ground. We secure all our fireworks with stakes 25mm x 25mm square or with steel pins. These are placed on each side and secured with gaffer tape, which is wrapped around the product a number of times ensuring we do not cover the fuse. Should the firework become loose, the stake should prevent it from falling forwards. Another good practice is to place hardboard under the base of the firework if on very soft ground. If firing on hard firm surfaces like concrete or flags, you can use sandbags or bury the product in the sand. Heavy blocks placed around the product can also be used to secure the firework. If in doubt always read the instructions. Never attempt to light a firework that's not secured. Fireworks produce recoil, just like a shotgun or cannon, and it will, without doubt, topple over. Conic fountains should be placed in sand or on a hard surface like a flag. Mines should be buried or staked securely with plyboard placed underneath the base. These, without doubt, produce unbelievable recoil.
- Rockets usually come in a pack, or as a single piece, with a tube provided. If you require more tubes you can purchase a 22mm plastic tube from your local plumber's merchant at little cost. Always angle your tube away from the spectators. A rocket will always fly into the wind so bear this in mind when you are planning your display and always inspect your rockets for damage. Never fire a rocket with a broken or damaged stick as this will affect the balance of the rocket and flight path. Gently place the rocket in the tube, never drop it in as this could cause the stick to become embedded in soft ground and the rocket to burst 'flowerpot' at ground level.
- Always store fireworks in a secure, flameproof container using them one at a time. Never place fireworks in pockets, Never smoke around fireworks and keep them away from naked flames.
- Lighting fireworks. Locate the orange fuse cover - this will always say start fuse - and pull down the cover which will expose a green vico fuse. We recommend you use a portfire to ignite fireworks and always light the fuse at arm's length. Never put any part of your body over any firework. Once ignited, move to a safe distance. If a firework fails to ignite, do not return to it, simply move on to the next firework. Some fireworks have a reserve fuse; this should only be used when a firework has failed and has been left for a good while. Should a firework only fire partway through, leave until the following day then soak in water for 48 hours, after which you can contact your local council waste transfers station who will advise on the disposal.
- When using sparklers it is advisable to have a bucket of water available to dispose of spent sparklers. Always supervise children using sparklers and when the sparkle has finished, dispose of immediately and carefully. Never leave children unsupervised with handheld sparklers.
- it's always polite and courteous to let your local residents know you will be having a fireworks display. Give them plenty of notice of the date and time of your display, so if they do have pets or issues with fireworks they can work around it. Maybe invite them to join your party.
- And finally, whilst fireworks can be used every day of the year, there are laws around the times they can be lit which you must abide by. In the main, fireworks must not be used before 7am or after 11pm. There are several celebrations throughout the year when this is extended - on Bonfire Night the cut off is midnight and on New Years Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year it is 1am.