It’s finally arrived, that moment you’ve all been waiting for: my annual pyro.space blog post. Last year, we talked about best buying practices, this year, I’m going to talk a little bit about best lighting practices, setup, and safety. If you’ve got a few cakes and some sparklers, a little common sense can go a long way, but if you’ve got boxes and boxes of cakes, mortars, rockets, and other explosives, setup and safety practices are crucial.
Don’t drink and ignite:
Obviously there’s going be drinks at your barbecue. It is highly recommended that you don’t drink and ignite fireworks simultaneously just as you should not drink while operating machinery of any kind. Fireworks, while safe when used properly, can be dangerous when not handled in a careful and appropriate manner. So try to keep the drinking to a minimum if you’re the one lighting them.
Don’t hold your roman candles:
I know you are going to ignore this one, but we highly recommend you don’t hold your devices. If you do ignore me and decide to hold your roman candles, hold them off to the side, because every once in a while, the last on can fire out the wrong side. Tying them to a flimsy stick isn’t a good idea either.
Never, ever, put your face (or anything else) over a tube:
It doesn’t matter if you never lit it or think it’s a dud. It rarely happens that a fireworks can be ignited accidentally by other fireworks, but it can happen. If a firework that you have already attempted to light is determined to be a dud (this also rarely happens with our product) there are times when firing from the tube can be delayed. To reiterate, keep your face out of the way of the tube.
Always make sure that your fireworks are lying flat on a stable surface:
These are powerful mortars and shells. If they are leaning, there’s a small chance for tipping. Minimize this risk by using plywood or setting the fireworks on asphalt or concrete. It also doesn’t hurt to set the fireworks behind something, so that if it were to tip towards the viewers, the object would deflect the shells.
If you can, keep a water hose or fire extinguisher around:
Again, small chance of needing either. Wouldn’t you rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it? Dousing fireworks after they’ve discharged would also fall under the umbrella of good practices.
Finally, ignite your pyrotechnics with something that will easily light your fuses.
Punks are a no go, they wibble-wobble whilst you try to hold the tiny end against a fuse (punks are great for keeping the bugs away). Matches work, but they are only one use, and can blow out. Cigarette lighters are slightly improved, but you’re definitely going to burn your thumb. Grill lighters turn out to be great for lighting your fireworks. They keep your body away from the opening and allow comfortable and easy lighting. The ultimate, best thing to use when lighting is a propane torch that you can purchase at any hardware store. These will instantly light the fuse and keep you from guessing whether you were successful or not.
Fireworks Buying Guide: Tips and Advice
Independence day is looming upon us, and as a fireworks retailer, you can imagine that the holiday is much different for us than for your average retail space. The employees are in a frenzy, the owners are frazzled, and I’m somewhere in between. Despite the craziness we experience, we know that you are here to have a great time, and we want to help with that. Of course, our staff will be available for any questions and help you require, but here is a fireworks buying guide to build on that already excellent buying experience:
Your budget should influence what types of fireworks you buy.
How much you are planning on spending is important. If you have few dollars to spend, you should look for the best value. Some fireworks cost a lot because the quality of the breaks are more circular and they launch to a higher altitude. If you have $80 to spend, your best bet is to buy multiple repeaters and mortars than to buy one, huge $80 cake. If you have a large budget, it’s ok to splurge on the big stuff.
No matter what budget you’re on, our pyro-specialists and this fireworks buying guide can direct you to a good selection of items.
Know which fireworks do what.
A little bit of research can go a long way in making your show the best it can be. Knowing what the functional difference between a mortar and a repeater is, what the benefits of a rocket are, and how a missile battery fires can really increase your chances of doing a great show.
Realize that any type of firework can add to your show.
Do you think that only aerial repeaters and mortars can contribute to a great show? It’s not the case at all. Consider that professionals use dynamite and whistles to increase the sensory effect. You can do the same, just on a smaller scale. Nothing kills a display quicker than inactivity. The dying echo of that last shell fading off into the distance is the sound of your audience losing their interest.
Buying fire crackers, whistling ground-based fireworks, and other noise makers can help you avoid those gaps. A 1,000 firecracker bandolier will last for 1.5 minutes. If you have an aerial show and you plan on it lasting 5 minutes (which in fireworks minutes is like a 2 hour movie), grab a 4,000 piece bandolier and light at the beginning of your show. Problem solved.
Break your pyro-loot into fused stages for a better timed ignition.
Yes, you could run around frantically and light your pieces one by one, or you could work smarter and group your items into stages. North of the Border has handy dandy timing sheets for most of our items. Use this to your advantage, set up multiple groupings of fireworks, have them timed so that they are running back to back and sometimes simultaneously, and use fuse to do it.
You’ll find that a little bit of setup while the sun is out can save you a lot of work. Buy some 0:30/ft and some 0:05/ft fuse to get your ignitions accurately timed.
Choose with a variety of pyrotechnic effects in mind.
Yes, you may have a favorite type of break and effect, but buy with variety in mind. If you don’t, you might get sick of seeing the same thing over and over. So might your audience. There are many different effects that you can purchase, and they are all beautiful in their own way. The big huge breaks are stunning for sure, but watching a cascade of golden willow fall feather-like to the ground is inspiring as well.
An audience, like any audience, has differing likes and dislikes. Pick a large variety of effects and no one will be sad. Hit them over the head with the huge, sky-splitting breaks over and over, and they might want to return the favor.
In any event, enjoy your purchasing experience, I hope this fireworks buying guide has helped. Finding the right items for your show can be as rewarding as igniting them. Have an excellent Independence Day evening.