There are three types of firework available to the public:
Category F1 – Indoor / Close Proximity Fireworks
Category F2 – Garden Fireworks
Category F3 – Larger Garden / Display Fireworks
Here we will be discussing Category (Cat) F2 & F3 Fireworks
Cat F2 & F3 Fireworks are essentially the same, however, Cat F2 Fireworks are suitable to use in smaller gardens and carry a minimum safety distance of 8 metres. Cat F3 Fireworks are generally larger and you need a minimum 25 metre safety distance to use these, however, we suggest even more for larger Cat F3 items, not just on safety grounds, but if you stand too close to larger fireworks you just can’t appreciate them as much.
Organising your display
Early preparation is important
You should nominate one person to be in charge of the fireworks and lighting, if you are having a larger display then you should set up a committee and assign the various jobs to individuals well in advance to ensure firework safety. Make sure your firing site can accommodate the type of fireworks you want to fire, you will need more space than you think, take a look at our example firing site below, it will give you an idea of the space you require.
Make sure that you read the instructions on ALL your fireworks, different fireworks behave differently and need to be set up and secured in their own unique way to guarantee firework safety. In recent years newer ‘fan style’ cakes have been introduced and you should take extra care to ensure that the correct side of the firework is facing the audience. Cakes / barrages, candles, mines and fountain-fireworks should all be buried in soft earth, or alternatively you can attach them to wooden stakes buried into the ground, when doing this make sure that the stake is nearest the audience and attach the firework with strong cloth tape (gaffa tape, not sellotape) or thick cable ties, by making sure that the firework is behind the stake, you minimise the risk of the firework falling over and facing the crowd. For large cakes use a couple of stakes. Remember to angle your fireworks whether they are buried or staked away from the audience. If it’s raining you can use plastic bags or bin liners to keep your fireworks dry.
Fountains sometimes come in the shape of a cone, making it hard to attach them to something, if you have this type of fountain place it on a board or flat surface such as paving slab, just placing it on earth or grass will make the firework unstable and increase the risk of it falling over.
Rockets should only be launched from suitable tubes, if you require more you can make your own from plumbing pipe, but always ensure that the stick of the rocket can rise freely from the pipe, if it gets stuck in the pipe the rocket will explode at ground level, something we don’t want. People think that the stick is just there to support the rocket before lift off, but its an important part of the firework ensuring that the head of the rocket stays stable on its upward flight, so if you have a rocket with a broken stick, don’t be tempted to fire it, it won’t work properly. Remember, rockets always travel into the wind so you should take this into account when setting up your display, you should also angle your rockets away from the audience and ensure there is no overhead obstruction such as trees or powerlines
If you are having a bonfire they should be a safe distance down wind of the firework area and must be supervised at all times. Never use inflammables such as petrol or paraffin to start the fire and under no circumstances dispose of used or unused fireworks on the bonfire.
On the night
Make sure you're prepared
For safety around fireworks, always wear protective clothing, goggles, hard hat and gloves are a must, for extra protection you might want to invest in probhan (fire retardant) overalls, these can be obtained from many outlets for as little as £15-£20. If you are lighting your fireworks one at a time, keep your fireworks in a closed, fireproof container and take them out as you need them, DON’T PUT FIREWORKS IN YOUR POCKETS leaving them in the open could mean sparks from lit fireworks igniting them. You should make sure that no one can wander into the firing area, use rope or another type of barrier if you have to. Designate someone as a marshall if you haven’t already to keep an eye on your audience. Make sure you have a torch to read the instructions on the fireworks again. NEVER read the instructions with a naked flame! Fire extinguishers, buckets of sand or water should be available. When lighting your fireworks only use a portfire or other safety lighter attached to a stick to distance you from the firework, you should never use lighters or matches, always light the firework at arms length. Once lit, retire to a safe distance. NEVER RETURN TO A LIT FIREWORK, EVEN IF YOU THINK ITS NOT LIT.