Are you getting impatient waiting for your local community to host a public fireworks display? Why not put one on at home? Putting on a fireworks display isn’t hard. You just need to choose the right pyrotechnics to wow your audience and make sure you’re setting them off safely.
First, make sure fireworks are legal in your jurisdiction – most states will allow consumers to buy most fireworks, but you don’t want to get arrested for setting off illegal pyrotechnics. You’ll need to choose the right fireworks for the effects you want, set everything up properly, and make safety a priority when it comes to handling and lighting fireworks. Here’s what you need to know.
1 Make Sure You’re Not Breaking the Law
In the vast majority of states, you can buy most fireworks, even aerial ones, and light them off yourself. Only one state, Massachusetts, bans all fireworks from consumer sale. A few states allow only non-aerial fireworks, and there are also a few states where firework sales are regulated on a county-by-county basis. Check your local laws before you go firework shopping.
2 Choose the Right Fireworks for the Display You Want
If aerial fireworks are legal in your area, then that’s most likely the kind of show you want to put on, if you have the space. Familiarize yourself with the different kinds of fireworks effects you can get from aerial fireworks like mortars, roman candles, and bottle rockets. Think about the kind of display you want to put on before you go shopping for fireworks. You may want to buy some of your fireworks online to get the best deal, but you can also get good deals by shopping around at different fireworks stalls in your area.
3 Set Up Everything Safely
You need to make sure your fireworks are secure before you set them off. If you’re setting off a lot of mortars, make your own mortar rack to hold them securely upright during ignition. If you’re setting off the kind of aerial fireworks that have a plastic plate on the bottom, you can screw that plate to a wooden plank or length of plywood to be sure they don’t fall over while they’re firing. Bottle rockets, roman candles, and other fireworks can be stabilized in a bucket full of sand.
If you want to put on an aerial fireworks display at your home, you’ll need a lot of space to make sure that you don’t accidentally set anything on fire or hurt anyone. You need space for hot debris to fall from the break without setting any structures, trees, shrubs, brush piles, wood piles, houses, or buildings on fire below – that means you’ll need a fallout zone at least 30 feet across. You’ll need to keep your audience well behind the firing line, at a distance equal to half again the height of your highest aerial pyrotechnic.
If you don’t have that much space, you should stick to setting off non-aerial fireworks. Fountains, cones, smoke bombs, and other non-aerial fireworks can produce impressive displays in a small space and represent less of a fire hazard. If you can only have your audience 15 or 20 feet away from the firing line or don’t have a fallout zone that can accommodate the needs of a large firework break, stick with a non-aerial display.
4 Take Care When Handling Fireworks
It’s vitally important that you practice appropriate safety precautions when setting off fireworks at home. You can start by carefully policing who gets to handle the fireworks. It’s usually best if only one person is lighting the fireworks because then it’s less likely that others will have a firework accident. Don’t drink while handling fireworks, and keep fireworks and novelties, like sparklers, out of the hands of children.
You (or whoever is lighting the fireworks) should dress appropriately for the task. Wear long jeans, boots or sneakers, a hat with a brim, safety goggles, and long sleeves. Don’t lean over fireworks while you’re lighting them – lean away so you don’t get hit in the face with any sparks that might fly up suddenly. Use a grill lighter instead of a cigarette lighter, so your hands are further from the sparks. Wear 100 percent cotton clothing that won’t melt and stick to your skin if sparks fall on it. And keep a garden hose, buckets or water, or a fire extinguisher handy to put out any flames that break out. Wet fireworks after they’re done – you don’t want them to sit there and continue smoldering.
It’s easy to put on a home fireworks display that will dazzle your family and friends. Just make sure that everyone has a safe and fun experience.