Safety Advice

 

So many people love fireworks yet many perceive the idea of handling them to be risky or too dangerous. Whilst it is true that if misused or set up incorrectly fireworks can be hazardous, modern fireworks are also remarkably reliable and safe, when approached responsibly and with due care and attention to risk mitigation.

At Astounded Fireworks we have many many years experience with everything from sparklers to huge professional displays, and have never experienced personal injury or damage to property, simply because we have always followed a sensible code of safe practice.

Our aim in business is to not only supply fireworks of the highest quality and entertainment value, but to spread the message of safe and responsible firework use, to further ensure all our customers have a successful and trouble-free celebration. If you choose to dedicate a few minutes to the information we have written here, you will not only be more confident with fireworks, but enthused, educated and excited.

So, let's start with the Firework Code - a simple set of commonsense commandments that should form the bare minimum of precautions for even a small garden display. Follow these if your having a traditional firework party and you won't go far wrong. If you're organising a larger display, read on for our large display organisation guide.

 
 

ORGANISATION
Most groups now set up a small organising committee to administer the event. Try and get at least one member experienced in firework displays. Clearly define the duty of each member of the committee, for example one person could be responsible for the ordering storing and lighting of the fireworks, another for liasing with local authorities, police, fire brigade, another for site facilities and crowd control and so on. Our Firework Wizards are always on hand who can offer help and guidance and can also provide a really useful video of how to do it. Additionally HSE produce a useful guide HSG 124 ‘Giving Your Own Firework Display'.

SITE
Your site should ideally look like the diagram below. Pay particular attention to the wind direction and if at all possible have an alternative arrangement on site if the wind changes. If you decide on a bonfire make sure that it is at least 15metres from buildings roads, railways and other public rights of way, clear of overhead obstructions like power lines and is a safe distance from petrol, fuel oil and gas installations.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW

Emergency services - police, fire brigade

Coast guards if applicable

Airport authority if applicable

Local institutions It is wise to inform local hospitals, nursing homes and farms with animals.

CROWD SAFETY
Prevent access of spectators to the safety, fall out and firing areas by some suitable fence or barrier. Try and provide an adequate number of clearly marked stewards. Do not allow spectators to bring their own fireworks including sparklers. Make sure there is equipment available for putting out small fires (extinguishers, water, fire blankets).

ACCIDENT PLAN
Well before the day draw up a plan to cover what could go wrong on the day. define and agree ‘What action will be taken' and ‘Who will take the action' Here are some likely problems:-wind direction, accident from firework injury, bonfire unsafe, disorderly spectators.

LOOKING AFTER THE FIREWORKS
When the fireworks arrive check to see that they are all there and that you can see no obvious problems. Repack them into the card boxes and store in a cool dry place until needed. It is strongly recommended that firers read the instructions on the fireworks and examine the fireworks in advance to make sure they understand and can proceed with the firing safely. If any more information is required remember Fireworks International have expert staff on hand to deal with your enquiries. Form a firing plan for the team to follow, basing the site layout closely on the site diagram. Remember it can rain on the day and polythene bags are almost essential to protect the fireworks. They can be quickly and easily removed immediately prior to lighting.

FIRING THE DISPLAY
Only allow the firers into the firing area and restrict their numbers to the minimum possible to ensure continuity of the display. Firers should wear suitable clothing. A protective hat, goggles and ear protection are advisable with cotton overalls (or another non flammable material) Do not use thin nylon. Always use portfires to light the fireworks at arms length. Never lean over a firework. If a firework fails to ignite then leave it well alone for at least 30 minutes.

CLEARING UP AFTER THE EVENT
Keep the firing area clear of spectators until the firers have had time to clear up. Locate and deal with any dud fireworks. These should be soaked in water for 24 hours to make them harmless. The spent fireworks should be collected into refuse sacks for disposal. Ensure the bonfire has been completely extinguished. It is a good idea to return to the site at first light next day to make a final inspection.

HEALTH & SAFETY ACT
Intending organisers of public or semi public displays should be aware of the requirements of the Health and safety At Work Act 1974 which applies not only to the safety of those directly involved but also to the safety of members of the public. This leaflet is intended only to provide basic guidance, compliance with its recommendations is not necessarily sufficient to meet responsibilities placed by the act on those who involved in firework displays.