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Organising a Fireworks Display: Checklist

Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, is one of the most popular times for a firework display, with 20 million people estimated to attend a firework display during November. Fireworks can be enjoyed all year round, adding an impressive finish to any event, but they need to be planned responsibly.

When organising an event with pyrotechnics, you will need a robust and detailed approach to planning, with professional involvement if necessary. Below is a checklist of what to do to keep yourself and attendees safe.

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Firework Display

Prior to the Fireworks Display:

Establish who is operating the display. You are allowed to light a display yourself providing it contains only category 1,2 and 3 fireworks. Category 4 fireworks may only be used by professional firework display operators like Illusion Fireworks Ltd.

  • Obtain the fireworks from a reputable seller and store them in a suitable place.

  • Check the venue is large enough for your display, including a bonfire if you’re having one.

  • Is there a safe area between the spectators and fireworks? Fireworks often travel during displays.

  • If you plan on selling alcohol on site, this should be well away from the display area.

  • Check for overhead power lines and obstructions during the day.

  • Check the direction of the prevailing wind. What would happen if it changes?

  • Plan what to do if things went wrong and communicate to other stewards/ marshals. Ensure there is someone responsible for calling the emergency services.

  • If our team is launching the fireworks, ensure you’ve communicated to us what to do in an emergency.

  • Plan how people will get in and out of the site.

  • Keep pedestrian and vehicle paths separate if possible. Mark exit routes clearly and ensure they are sufficiently lit.

  • Ensure emergency vehicles can access the venue.If your event is substantial, contact the emergency services and the local authority.

  • If your venue is near an airport you may need to contact them.

  • You may also need an event medical cover or first aid company to provide medical staff at the display to anticipate any medical emergencies.

On the Day of the Fireworks Display:

  • Recheck the venue, weather conditions and wind direction.

  • Once checked, don’t let anyone other than the display operator or firing team into the area the fireworks will fall into.

  • Prevent attendees from bringing alcohol or fireworks onto the site.

  • Never attempt to relight fireworks.

  • Always stay away from failed fireworks.

  • Signpost the first aid facilities.

If you also have a Bonfire:

  • Check the structure is sound and does not have any animals inside before lighting.

  • Never user petrol or paraffin.

  • Have only one person responsible for lighting the fire.

  • The person should wear suitable clothing which is low-flammable.

  • Make sure the person lighting the fire and any helpers know what to do if an incident arises, such as a burn injury or if clothing catches fire.

The Day After the Fireworks Display

Check and clear the site. Be alert for un-exploded fireworks. Dispose of fireworks safely.

Have Sufficient Firework Display Insurance

If you are holding a firework display, it’s wise to have public liability insurance for peace of mind. Not all companies are used to dealing with this type of event, so may not provide insurance for firework displays, so ensure you choose a competent insurer. Illusion Fireworks Ltd carry a comprehensive £10m Public Liability Policy but this only covers the firework display not the wider event.

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Plymouth Fireworks


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