A town fireworks show is always a treat. You gather together with friends and neighbors in a nice park and watch a carefully choreographed pyrotechnic display.
But you don’t have to wait for your town to put on a fireworks display in order to enjoy some pyrotechnics. You can buy your own and host a home fireworks show. Here’s how to do so safely.
Select a Firing Area
The number one thing you need to host a fireworks display at home is space. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t be letting off a bunch of aerial fireworks if you live a typical in-town lifestyle with neighbors on either side of you. You need a large piece of property in order to set off your own fireworks, and there may be local ordinances against setting off fireworks within city limits, anyway.
You’ll need an unobstructed firing line – that means no nearby and especially no overhead trees, no overhead electrical or telephone wires and no nearby buildings or structures. Figure out the altitude to which your highest aerial firework flies. You’re going to want to put your crowd one and a half times that distance away from the firing line. So, if your largest aerial firework goes to a height of 120 feet, you need enough space to put your crowd 180 feet behind the firing line.
In front of the firing line, you’re going to need about twice that amount of space – so, in this example, 360 feet – to serve as a fallout zone for your fireworks. There should be no trees, structures, wires, or anything else in the fallout zone. You should obviously avoid lighting off fireworks if your area is under a no-burn advisory.
Prepare Your Fireworks
You will need to attach your aerial fireworks to racks so that they don’t fall over and potentially fire directly into the crowd. Grab a piece of plywood two feet wide by eight feet long and screw some lengths of two-by-four to the bottom of it. You’ll place the wood two-by-four-side down and attach your fireworks, in the order you want to light them, by driving screws through the bases of the fireworks and into the wood.
Many fireworks have a plastic base on the bottom that you can drive the screws through, but if yours doesn’t, you can usually drive a screw right through the clay plug at the bottom of the firework tube itself. You can build more complex firework racks for lighting off mortars. When you buy roman candles and bottle rockets, read the instructions to find out whether you need to place the fireworks inside a bottle or other container before lighting.
Practice Fireworks Safety
As the host of the fireworks display, you should set a good example when it comes to fireworks safety, and be prepared to deal with any injuries or mishaps that may occur during your home display. When you light off fireworks, dress for safety. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and denim pants in 100 percent cotton – synthetic fabrics will melt when exposed to heat, but cotton will burn, so you’re less likely to be as seriously injured if your clothes catch on fire.
Wear a hard hat or a baseball cap turned backwards to protect your neck, gloves, closed-toe shoes or boots, cotton socks, and safety goggles. Never turn your back on a burning firework. Never hold a burning firework in your hand – always set them down before lighting them, or have them attached to a rack of some kind. Make sure your fireworks can’t fall over while they’re burning.
You should also have a fire extinguisher, some buckets of water, or a hose (or some combination of those three) nearby when lighting off fireworks, in case a fire breaks out. It’s also a good idea to have a first aid kit with burn cream and bandages available, especially if you’re allowing members of the audience to play with sparklers, firecrackers, or other non-aerial fireworks. Non-aerial fireworks can be a lot of fun for kids and adults alike, but they can cause serious burns and injuries if misused.
Did you miss your town’s fireworks show? Are you just getting impatient waiting for the next one? You don’t need to wait – you can put on a fireworks show at home as long as you have enough space. Your friends, family, and neighbors can all enjoy a dazzling display of pyrotechnics that will rival anything the pros could cook up.