Types of Fireworks

The photo on the right was taken by Louise in Hong Kong outside an absolute monster sized HMV!

ROCKETS

Should be launched from a rocket launching tube angled slightly away from the spectators and any obstructions. Make sure the rocket is free to rise.

MORTAR MINES

Mines are, in effect, shells bursting from the ground rather than the air. They are propelled by means of of a lifting charge which projects it out of a heavy paper mortar tube. It is very important yo follow the instructions provided and never position any part of the body over a loaded mortar tube.

GROUND MINES

Ground Mines do not require a separate mortar, they are supplied preloaded and when lit start with a small fountain before bursting into colour.

ROMAN CANDLES

Batteries of candles must be firmly tied or nailed to a post or burried for 3/4 of their length in a bucket of dry sand. They discharge stars and other types of effects. Normally they are in batteries of 3,4 6 or 7.

SET PIECES

There are two main types of Set Piece, one type stationary combining geometric designs of fountains and the second type consisting of moving pieces with wheels etc, turning vertically or horizontally. They should be fixed to a frame or post, the higher the better, as they cascade to the ground.

PORTFIRES

These are used to ignite the fireworks

Organising the Display

Early preparation is important and it is advisable to set up a small committee with each member having a defined responsibility to organise their part of the display. The fire brigade and police, and for sites near the coast, the coastguard, should all be informed of your display, well in advance. Fire extinguishers, buckets of sand and water should be available on the night with marshalls trained to use them. Bonfires should be in a safe distance down wind of the firework area and must be supervised at all times. Never use inflammables to start the fire and under no circumstances dispose of used or unused fireworks on the bonfire.

Firing the Display

The order in which the fireworks are used is very important if the audience is to get maximum enjoyment from the display. It is a good idea to start the display with a volley of noise or bang rockets to get the attention of the crowd. Follow this with rockets then a set piece, then a sequence of candles mines or cakes with loud noise and reports. Repeat this sequence to suit. The finale should be an impressive combination of noise and colour. This is only a suggested firing order and by no means rigid. Remember to keep the display moving, so the visual impact is not lost. Always light fireworks at arms length, and under no circumstances lean over a firework. Never go back to firework if it fails to ignite.

Bad Weather

WIND

If there is wind, make sure the fireworks are down wind from the audience. Fire the fireworks in such a way that the sparks from the burning debris fall only on those pieces which have already been fired. Rockets will always turn into the direction of the prevailing wind

RAIN

If it is wet do not set out fireworks unnecessarily early. Provide a good supply of plastic bags, bin liners and cling film all of which can be used on most fireworks to great effect against the weather.

Safety Rules

  • Never smoke when handling fireworks

  • Unpack the fireworks in a safe place away from open fires and easily inflammable material

  • Make sure that the fireworks are all seperated from the packing material

  • Remember that fireworks are fragile

  • Always keep fireworks covered

  • When out of doors, the firework box should be covered with a tarpaulin or other spark proof material as a spark could ignite the whole contents

  • Always light fireworks with a portfire attached to a stick held at arms length

  • When firing a display always wear protective overalls, goggles, hat and gloves. Beware of hot effects falling into gaping pockets, wellington boots etc.

  • Never walk or lean across the top of any firework. Treat them as you would a loaded gun muzzle

  • Always soak unignited fireworks in water for 24 hours before disposal

  • Never put used or unused fireworks on to a bonfire

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