The Health and Safety Executive has published a guide to help organisers of fireworks displays, entitled "Giving your fireworks display - How to run it safely" and can be obtained direct from the Health and Safety Executive on 01787 881165 or online at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg124.htm. It contains a lot of useful information on how to check your site for the display and also information on setting up and firing the event.
Please note that the above information is for guidance only. It is the person/persons using the fireworks responsibility to ensure that they have fully read the label of each firework and used the firework in accordance with label.
Please also visit http://www.saferfireworks.com/planning/index.htm for some further useful information
All firework packs supplied by 1st Galaxy Fireworks come complete with our own leaflet "A Guide to Safety", however here are few basic elements which need to be considered when organising a display.
Are the fireworks a safe distance from the audience and any other potential hazards (trees, buildings etc)?
Most fireworks now require a minimum spectator distance of 25 metres, however this is a minimum distance and wherever possible we would recommend that you keep your firing site as far away from the crowd as is physically possible. Firework displays often look far better from a greater viewing distance as your spectators do not have to bend over backwards to see the fireworks. Also be aware of any other hazards such as trees and buildings, which may obstruct the firing line of the fireworks and may also be a fire hazard.
Where will the firework debris/fallout land?
It is important to consider where any fireworks debris, i.e. rocket sticks and burning embers, will fall in relation to spectators. A clear area, ideally at least as big as the firing site, situated behind the firing site, furthest away form the crowd should be retained for debris to fall to the ground safely.
What is the prevailing wind direction?
If there is a prevailing wind, then you should position the audience upwind of the firing site.
Access and exits for the audience and the emergency services?
Does the site have good clearly marked access and exit points and is the area well lit ? You may need to consider putting in some additional lighting so that people can safely enter and exit the site. It is the organiser's responsibility to ensure the safety of the spectators.
Am I insured?
If you are organising an event at which members of the public will attend, then you should consider your public liability as the organisers of the event. Have a word with your insurance provider.
Before the Day
- Never smoke when handling fireworks.
- Unpack the fireworks in a safe environment, away from any sources of ignition.
- Make sure that all fireworks are separated form the packaging and remember that fireworks are delicate and should be treated as such.
- Ensure that you familiarise yourself with all the fireworks and their respective performance and effect.
- Read all the instruction labels on each firework and having done this, store the fireworks in a suitable box/container in a cool dry place, away from any sources of ignition.
On the Day
- If the fireworks have been positioned before the display, they should be protected from sparks and rain with foil/metal tape or polythene.
- Ensure that all persons firing the display are familiar with the firing order and know exactly which firework they are responsible for lighting.
- Torches should be used to check instructions where necessary.
- Wear the appropriate protective clothing, i.e. Safety Goggles, Ear Plugs, Gloves and non-flammable clothing.
- Always light fireworks at arms length using a portfire (for extra safety you can attach the portfire to a longer stick/pole).
- Keep set pieces at least 10ft apart to avoid cross ignition.
- Should any firework fail to ignite. DO NOT APPROACH FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES after the display has finished and then dowse in water or dry powder and leave for 24 hours where possible.
- Never aim fireworks across or over spectators, always aim away from the crowd.
- When firing rockets, consider where the sticks will land, bearing mind they will automatically track into the wind.
- Keep all spare fireworks covered.
- Ensure that no unauthorised persons enter the display area and if necessary appoint a steward for this purpose.
- Never leave any fireworks unattended.
- Children must be kept under adult supervision and not allowed in the display area.
- No persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs should be involved in the handling or firing of fireworks.