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Fabulous fountains – everything you need to know

So, you’re planning your first fireworks display. What kinds of fireworks should you be including? One of the first to investigate is the fabulous fountain, a staple of all the best fireworks shows and known for being a real crowd-pleaser.

Unlike other fireworks such as rockets, fountains don’t produce a large, dramatic aerial display. They are placed on the ground and fire a volcano of sparks upwards, which then pour to the ground in a gorgeous fountain shape. They create an impressive visual display and are great for use in between aerial firework bursts or to fill space near the ground.

Types of fountain and choosing the right one

First of all, you should only buy fireworks from a reputable provider. 1st Galaxy Fireworks, for example, is a member of the British Pyrotechnics Association and has built up its reputation over 23 years of experience in the industry. What you shouldn’t do is buy bargain basement cheap fireworks from disreputable suppliers that offer no clue as to their quality, safety or reliability.

Now, as to which fountains to choose – here are a few points to consider…

The effects come in many sizes, shapes and spark colours, but the most powerful and impressive are generally thought to be those that keep it simple. For example, a silver spark fountain that doesn’t crackle or offer any other fancy effects. This is because they do not waste any energy on noise, colour or both – they can put all of their power into the height, size and strength of the fountain.

There are a number of varieties of fountains too, including:

  • Conic fountains – these are the most popular type, known for their size and typical fountain shape. They tend to be quiet, only giving off a gentle ‘roar’ sound as they provide a consistent and lengthy fountain display. Why try these amazing new Cones Manufactured in Switzerland 
  • Gerbs – these are more professional versions of the conic fountain, often used by professional display organisers like 1st
  • Multi-effect fountains – these fountains offer some interesting effects to delight your guests, from crackles and multi-colours to even a ‘dancing’ movement
  • Strobes and Bengal Blinkers – these increasingly popular fireworks are tiny fountains that flash on and off like a strobe light, producing very bright and exciting effects. They illuminate their own smoke, producing interesting shapes, shadows and colours. As they are so small, strobe fireworks are best used together in groups.

Using fountains in a display

Fountains are very good for quieter displays where you’re trying to keep the noise down (for example, to keep your neighbours happy). As they are quiet in operation, they can also provide a louder display with some contrast and suspense – both crucial elements for an exciting display. If you’ve got lots of aerial fireworks, fountains can provide interest on the ground and distract the audience while you prepare the next firing. They are quite different to other fireworks, so can be used in combination with other effects to create a fully rounded display.

Popping the question with fireworks – tips for a romantic, incident-free proposal

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you may be thinking that the time is just right to pop the big question. If you really want to make a grand romantic gesture, why not propose to a backdrop of gorgeous fireworks? This can really create the ‘wow’ moment you’re looking for, but only if you plan it carefully.

Without proper planning, things can potentially go disastrously wrong. To prevent silly slip-ups ruining the big moment, here’s your guide to popping the question with fireworks:

  1. Get permission. It’s crucial to get the go-ahead from your local authority, as well as the owner of the property or land where you’ll be setting off the fireworks. If you don’t, you could have an angry property owner or even the police interrupting your big moment.
  1. Assemble a team. If you’re popping the question, all of your attention and focus needs to be on your partner. You don’t want to be dashing away to set off fireworks at a crucial moment, or deal with issues. Rope some friends in and plan the display together, then they can manage it all at your signal.
  1. Do it safely. Read all the safety instructions, and the firing instructions, well in advance of the big day. Make sure whoever’s helping you has read them too, and that everyone knows what they will be doing. The very last thing you want is someone getting hurt, especially not your partner! There’s also the risk of damaging property by mis-firing fireworks, which could get you in a lot of (potentially expensive) trouble. This could take the shine off the big moment.
  1. Check that your partner likes fireworks. It’s tricky to do this without giving the game away, but it’s very important to find out whether your boyfriend or girlfriend is actually a fireworks fan. If they don’t like them or worse, are scared of them – your proposal may not go very well.
  1. Don’t drown out your proposal. The timing of your fireworks, just like the timing of your proposal, is absolutely crucial. Think carefully about whether you want the display to start just as you’re proposing – will this add to the drama of the moment, or will it be distracting? Will the sound of an enormous rocket going off drown out that all-important question, or even the answer? These are important things to think about. You may want to wait until you’ve proposed (and received the answer you want) before giving the signal for the display to start.
  1. What will the answer be? Of course, your partner will 100% definitely say yes – but perhaps hold fire on the celebratory fireworks show just on the minuscule chance that she doesn’t. On the other hand, you may need cheering up if your partner gives you a ‘I’ll think about it” – and you’ve paid for the fireworks, so you might as well set them off, right?

Setting up your first fireworks show? 5 rookie mistakes to avoid


If you’re brand new to the world of running fireworks displays, there’s a lot to learn. Everyone thinks it’s as easy as lighting the fuse and standing back, but it actually requires a little preparation to create an amazing display. Here are five basic mistakes to avoid, some of which can simply be embarrassing while others can be dangerous. Take heed!

Mistake #1: Not bringing a spare lighter

You’ve got your lighter, matches or torch all ready to start your display, but what if it’s run out of gas? What if it’s been rained or won’t work for another reason? At the very least you’ll need to delay the show for a few minutes while you find another. It isn’t catastrophic, but it is a very embarrassing amateur mistake.

Mistake #2: Setting up in the dark

To run a successful fireworks show, follow this very simple rule – set up in the day, set off at night. Daylight allows you to set up your fireworks safely and according to your plan, and you’ll also be aware of any unevenness or obstacles on the ground. You don’t want to be discovering these at night!

Mistake #3: Buying suspiciously cheap fireworks

So, you come across an incredible deal online or in a local shop. You buy your fireworks, save lots of money and look forward to the big day. Unfortunately, when you try to light these mega cheap fireworks, all you get is clouds of smoke that obscure the effects and send all spectators coughing. Some fireworks won’t light or go off, while others do things that surprise you – and not in a good way. It’s not really worth saving a few pounds for if your display is ruined, is it? Always buy quality, certified fireworks from a reputable supplier. For example, 1st Galaxy Fireworks is a member of the British Pyrotechnists Association, the UK’s Association for Professional Firework Display Companies.

Mistake #4: Not having a safety plan in place

A good display is a safe display. Not having a safety plan, and the right safety equipment in place, means that you aren’t prepared if the worst should happen. For example, if something catches fire, you’d be able to extinguish it quickly and easily with a fire extinguisher. If a firework doesn’t seem to light properly and looks like it may be dangerous, you’d be able to drop it in a bucket of water until it’s safe to handle. Without these simple measures, easy-to-fix problems can turn into bigger, potentially dangerous issues.

Mistake #5: Accidentally setting off all your fireworks at once

If you haven’t properly read the instructions, communicated with your team or created a firing order, you could end up accidentally setting everything off at once. This is not only devastatingly disappointing for your audience (who will be treated to just 2-3 minutes of a display) but it can also be very dangerous.

Plan properly and you’ll have a great display! Remember that if you need advice, the experts at 1st Galaxy Fireworks will be happy to help.

Are indoor fireworks safe?

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The short answer to this is yes, but only if you buy fireworks that are specially designed to be used indoors and from a reputable company.

Indoor fireworks may sound very dangerous, but if you choose certified Category 1 fireworks and be careful where you buy them from – they’re actually perfectly safe.

These fireworks are designed to be used at a safety distance of 1 metre and tend to last around 60 seconds on average. They are safe to use as they don’t give off much smoke and are nowhere near as explosive as outdoor fireworks, which are designed to create large, impressive displays for hundreds of spectators. You can buy indoor sparklers and indoor ‘ice fountains’, so named because they don’t give off hot sparks like outdoor fireworks.

What are indoor fireworks used for?

The most common use of indoor fireworks is for birthday celebrations. If candles don’t make quite enough impact for you, why not surprise the birthday boy or girl with a fantastic pyrotechnic display? As long as everyone is standing at least a metre away and all safety instructions are followed, this can make quite a spectacular table decoration. They’re an awful lot of fun and a great way to mark a special occasion, making a landmark birthday really one to remember.

Category 1 fireworks are also fantastic for other occasions when you want to create a spectacle or add in a surprise element. Any kind of performance or show can be started or finished with a bang (quite literally), and indoor fireworks are brilliant for decorating wedding cakes.

Safety tips and things to remember

A fun event or party is one where everyone stays safe, whereas a trip to A&E is most certainly not fun! Here are some general safety tips to help you buy and use Category 1 fireworks:

  • Only buy CE Certified products from a reputable supplier. All Category 1 products at 1st Galaxy Fireworks are CE Certified
  • Always ensure that fireworks are clearly labelled ‘for indoor use’. For example, never use outdoor sparklers inside – they can produce potentially dangerous smoke when used inside and are also incredibly hot! Buy specially labelled indoor sparklers and fireworks instead.
  • Read the instructions before setting up, and ensure that anyone helping you knows exactly what to do and what not to do during the display
  • Be suspicious of super cheap fireworks. If something is bargain basement cheap, there is probably a reason. The fireworks could be dangerous, non-functional or give off so much smoke that the effect will be ruined.
  • Check everything is fully extinguished before throwing fireworks out. No one wants a fire in their dustbin!
  • Avoid alcohol when setting up indoor fireworks. Just like with outdoor fireworks, no one under the influence of alcohol should be in charge of setting them off. It just isn’t sensible, as you may be more reckless and not follow all the safety instructions after a few too many at a party.


Love NYE? Get ready for Chinese New Year 2017

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If you’re excited about New Year’s Eve and it’s incredible fireworks displays, there’s good news. You get to do it all over again at the end of January, as it’ll be time for Chinese New Year.

The start of the new lunar and solar calendar is often a bigger celebration than New Year’s Eve at the end of December, as fireworks and festivities take place all over the country. It’s a huge festival celebrated amongst Chinese communities in major cities such as London and Manchester, and in towns and cities across the world.

This year, Chinese New Year takes place on Saturday 28th January 2017. This means that there’s just enough time to start planning where to go and watch the fireworks. The celebration also includes parades, performances and opportunities to share food with friends and family – but fireworks are very much at the heart of the occasion. China has a rich history when it comes to fireworks and is widely believed to have invented them. The very earliest documentation of fireworks as we know them today dates back to the 7th century, during China’s Tang Dynasty. Fireworks were used to accompany festivities and have become engrained in China’s culture ever since.

The Year of the Rooster

Each year in the Chinese calendar is represented by one of the 12 animals in the zodiac. 2016 was the Year of the Monkey, while 2017 will usher in the Year of the Rooster. The 10th sign and only bird in the zodiac, the rooster will this coming year be a Fire Rooster. Each year has its own heavenly branch of zodiac animal and when the Year of the Rooster comes again in 2029, it will be an Earth Rooster.

If you’re organising your own display for Chinese New Year, this could be a useful hint for what colours to go for. Reds, yellows, whites and golds could all be excellent choices as part of a ‘rooster’ themed display. Look out for these colours if you’re heading to a local display.

Where to enjoy Chinese NY fireworks

Many cities in the UK celebrate Chinese New Year, particularly those with large Chinese communities. These events have become highlights of the cultural calendar, with colourful, exciting celebrations going on for days. In London, for example, free events take place in Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and the West End. A parade with astonishing floats and exhibitions will snake its way through the West End, while stage performances of dance troupes, acrobats, martial arts and even flying dragon dances will wow crowds in Trafalgar Square. The grand finale is of course a spectacular fireworks show.

If you’re celebrating Chinese New Year with friends or family, you can of course throw your own private fireworks party to see in the new year. With some well-chosen fireworks and a few safety lessons, you can celebrate with your loved ones in style – just make sure you warn the neighbours first!


Could silent fireworks be the future of NYE?

1st Galaxy 33.pngSome people absolutely love the booms, bangs and crackles of a fireworks display, but this isn’t the case for everyone. Others have concerns over how anxious the noise can make their pets, while residents in major tourist cities are worried about noise pollution.

A council in Scotland is now set to review whether silent or near silent fireworks could be the way to keep everyone happy. Edinburgh councillors are to commission a report on the impact of noise from fireworks displays which go on in this tourist-friendly, culturally rich capital city all year round. The council agreed that while fireworks in the city add colour, excitement and gaiety to special events in Edinburgh, it’s important to consider the needs of local residents.

The report will look at the impact of noise on the wellbeing of people and animals, and whether lots of large fireworks displays could be causing damage to the city’s many historical buildings through vibration. It will also consider alternatives, such as silent fireworks.

Pros and cons

There are clearly two sides to this debate, and not just in Edinburgh. Councillor Joanna Mowat, who is very much behind the report, said:

“This is an opportunity to look carefully at this issue and investigate whether new technology can reduce the noise but keep the spectacle which could make life a little quieter for residents of the city protecting the high level of amenity for residents of Edinburgh.”

There are those that believe that a key part of the enjoyment of fireworks is the noise, which makes a display exciting and dynamic. Organiser of the annual Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, Penny Dougherty, told BBC News:

“The Edinburgh’s Hogmanay fireworks are the signature element of an event that brings in 150,000 visitors from around the world and generates an economic impact of over £42m to the city of Edinburgh.

“Firework displays are a key part of every major New Year celebration around the world, and Edinburgh holds its own with cities such as London, Sydney, Dubai and Rio de Janiero at midnight on 31 December.”

Being a responsible display organiser

Fireworks may be noisy, but they don’t have to be disruptive, annoying or distressing to local residents or their pets. Responsible display organisers do the following to keep everyone happy:

  • Hold displays in large open venues as far away from residential areas as possible
  • Visit immediate neighbours to the site to warn them of the display and advise them to keep pets inside
  • Widely publicise the event through marketing and social media so that everyone knows what’s happening when
  • Obey all local authority rules and not hold fireworks displays at anti-social times

You can also choose quieter fireworks that emphasis spectacular visual effects over loud noises. Specialists such as 1st Galaxy Fireworks have a whole category of quiet fireworks to choose from, and are happy to offer advice on the right products to choose if noise is a concern.


A guide to all the fireworks effects you’ll see this New Year’s Eve

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One of the biggest nights of the year for fireworks is fast approaching – New Year’s Eve 2016. Whatever you’ve got planned for NYE, exciting pyrotechnics are bound to be involved at that crucial moment. After all, there’s no better way to mark the first seconds of a brand new year than with a spectacular fireworks celebration.

If you’re looking forward to NYE fireworks, here are the main effects you can expect to see during your local display. Tip – you can use this information on the night to impress your friends by sounding like a pyrotechnics expert!


Stars come in many shapes and sizes, but you’ll recognise them usually as a burst of bright lights that scatter in all directions like fireflies – often with a dense crackling sound. These effects fill space in a display perfectly, and it’s amazing how much they light up the sky.


This effect is easy to spot, as it is a compact burst which falls down in a horsetail curve – although some would argue that it looks like a comet or shooting star.


One of the most commonly used firework effects, the chrysanthemum is a round burst of sparks which leave a mesmerising and incredibly beautiful trail behind them.


Many firework effects are named after flowers due to the similarities in shapes and beautiful colours. The peony is another, an effect similar to the chrysanthemum in that it is a spherical burst of colourful stars. It explodes from the centre, where it sparkles and crackles – this one always gets an “oooh!” from the audience.


The palm is easily identifiable, as once the initial explosion has happened, the trails of sparks fall out and down in the shape of palm leaves. The amount of space in the sky this one takes up in the sky is particularly impressive, as it lights up the sky and seems to rain down colourful lights. This makes it a real crowd-pleaser, which is why it is used in so many professional fireworks displays.


Pearls are a very clever effect to add to a firework display, as they build up anticipation of loud noises and big explosions. However, they confuse and surprise by firing almost noiselessly into the sky as bright, glowing stars with no trail. This futuristic effect is not only quite cool and different to other fireworks, but it also raises excitement levels to fever pitch for the next big explosion.


This is a fascinating effect, one that really does look like its sparks have a life of their own. After a central explosion, the sparks burst out in all directions – with tiny squiggles of light flying away like fish swimming in the sky. Children will love this effect, especially when you tell them what it’s called!

Have an amazing NYE!

Hopefully this has got you feeling super excited for NYE fireworks – there’s not long to wait now! Have an amazing time, but remember to stay safe!

What do you need to know to safely run an amazing fireworks display for New Years Eve?

With fireworks available to buy online and from many different retail stores, it’s never been easier to plan your own fireworks display. Contrary to popular belief however, running a fireworks display safely isn’t as simple as lighting the fuse and standing back to watch, nor is it easy to create a well-paced, creatively and beautifully designed series of effects. All of this requires skill, training and experience. What’s more, not all categories of fireworks are suitable for use by untrained individuals.

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If you want to run a fireworks event for the public, or hold a professional-standard display at any level, then you’re going to need to do your homework.

Here are the essentials that any ‘senior firer’, as it is known in the industry, should know about:

  • Basic firework chemistry and types of fireworks – you need to understand how fireworks work and how they create the effects they do. An understanding of the chemistry of fireworks and how they are made is needed, as is knowledge of the different categories of fireworks available for sale in the UK.
  • Firework effects – learning about all of the different firework effects and aerial patterns, from bursts and barrages to chrysanthemums and crackles, is essential if you want to put together an aesthetically impressive display.
  • Storing and transporting fireworks – including how to keep fireworks secure and dry and away from flammable or explosive materials, as well as basic tips on transporting fireworks safely.
  • Rigging techniques – there are many different methods you can use to set up your fireworks before firing (particularly in challenging conditions such as wet weather), and many things that can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing. A knowledge of the most common techniques and how to execute them confidently is essential.
  • Site design – the layout of your site can make a huge difference to how safe and successful the event is, and you need to learn everything from how large a distance to leave between the firing and spectator zones to the right signage to use
  • Firing methods – just like with rigging, there are lots of different firing techniques, and it’s crucial to learn how to manage this potentially dangerous part of the display like an expert
  • Fallout considerations – what goes up must come down, and you need to learn how to reduce the risk that your fireworks cause harm or damage when they fall. This involves planning your site out carefully so as to leave an adequate ‘fallout’ zone.
  • Disposal – every display manager needs to know how to dispose of used fireworks safely and responsibly. This is just as important as firing the fireworks, as it affects the reputation of the event as well as the safety of all involved.

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Fireworks experts such as 1st Galaxy Fireworks provide comprehensive training for those wanting to become a ‘firer’ or ‘senior firer’, covering all of the above essentials along with practical experience, tips and support at every step of the process.

It’s time! Your guide to a safe and spectacular Bonfire Night…

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The biggest day of the year for fireworks (apart from NYE, of course) is just around the corner. If you’re hosting a fireworks event for Bonfire Night, now is the time to do your last-minute preparations and make sure that everything’s in place for a memorable and magical evening.

The fireworks

Even if you know they’re stored somewhere safe, it’s a good idea to check that your fireworks are all accounted for and that they’re dry and in good condition, before the big night. Read through the firing instructions with your team, so that everyone knows exactly what they’re doing in advance of the show.  You may also want to revisit timings and the pacing of the display to make sure it works for the audience, and perhaps prepare music if there’s going to be any gaps in the display.

The site

A site check is essential before a fireworks event, because you need to check that it’s safe for your team and for spectators. Mark out your firing and spectator zones, and where your bonfire will be lit. If you haven’t done this already, make sure you visit all neighbours to warn them of the event – as it will be loud and may disturb their children or pets. Crucially if you’re hosting a large event, you must let the council and local emergency services know.

Safety, staff and signage

Follow these tips to make sure everyone stays safe on the night:

  • Have a meeting with your team of helpers and volunteers, assigning jobs to everyone so that there’s no confusion as to who is doing what
  • Designate someone qualified as a first aider, as a fire marshal and as a parking steward, as well as a spectator steward
  • Make sure you have signage to direct people around the site, tell them where they are and aren’t allowed to go and provide them with safety advice
  • Double-check that everyone involved in the firing of the fireworks knows exactly what they’re doing. A written procedure is a good idea, one that lists the order of firing and also what you should and shouldn’t do during the display.

The aftermath

Many event organisers forget to put a plan in place for the clean-up of the site when planning fireworks displays, but it really is essential. You need to double and triple check that all fireworks and bonfire materials are fully extinguished, then disposed of safely and responsibly. Your team may need protective clothing, gloves in particular, and you may need to wait until the following morning for everything to be fully extinguished and cold. Ideally, your site should be left exactly as you found it.

Remember – it’s not too late to get professional advice or to order extra fireworks if you need them. You’ve just enough time to get in touch with 1st Galaxy Fireworks to add the finishing touches to your display. Best of luck and have a fantastic evening!

Strapped for cash? How to fund your fireworks (without skimping on the pyrotechnics)

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Buying enough fireworks for a full fabulous display doesn’t come cheap, but it’s always worth the investment when you see the faces of your audience and hear the “oohs” and “aahs” after a particularly whizz-popping effect.

If you love fireworks and you have your heart set on staging your own display this Bonfire Night, but you’re a bit short of the funds you need, don’t worry. There are ways you can fund your display, without having to skimp on the length or the quality of it. Here are some handy ideas:

  • Crowd-fund your display. Crowd-funding has been used to kick-start lots of exciting projects recently, from events to new products. If there is no fireworks event happening in the area on Bonfire Night and you know that there is lots of local demand for one, why not take to the internet and see if you can get some public support and donations? You’ll be surprised how many people may get behind your idea and help turn it into a reality.
  • Charge an entry fee. This is essentially another form of crowd-funding, where attendees of your event help to cover its costs through ticket sales or entry fees. However, with crowdfunding your costs are covered upfront, so you know for definite that you have enough money to go ahead and purchase your fireworks ahead of time. If you charge for tickets on the day and not enough people turn up, you could be left out of pocket. You may also experience cash flow problems having to pay for everything out of your own money, waiting to be reimbursed by ticket sales.
  • Assemble a team of volunteers. It takes a lot of people to look after an event like a fireworks display, from keeping an eye on safety to coordinating access and parking. You can save a huge amount of money on paying staff for these roles by putting the time in to find volunteers. For the chance to watch a free fireworks display (and possibly a hot dog or two to sweeten the deal), many people would be happy to help out for an hour or two.

If all else fails, you can always talk to your local council to see if there’s anything they can do to help – provided your event is a public one that could benefit and bring the whole community together.

What you shouldn’t do to save money

Whatever measures you take to trim the bill for your display, the last thing you should do is buy super cheap fireworks – unless it’s from a reputable place. Bargain bin fireworks are likely to mis-fire, produce lots of horrible smoke or do nothing at all. They could even be dangerous.

If you are concerned about money when buying your fireworks, speak to one of the team at 1st Galaxy Fireworks, who can help you design a display around your specific budget.