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.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Please use your brains and common sense, and good times will be had by all. Oh, and one more thing, load your mortars right side up, or this will happen.

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