People of all ages love fireworks. It can be a most unique, exciting and creative way to add sizzle to your event. A traditional outdoor fireworks display involves planning, patience and perseverance, but when all the pieces fall into place you can create a lasting memory of an event to remember. Putting on a successful display is a process, not an event.
For centuries, worldwide, fireworks have been a traditional way to economically celebrate and entertain large crowds. A well-executed display is the number-one way to reward your audience and guests for their attendance and participation at your event.
Fireworks companies vary in their scope of services, so you should seek out a company that is a full-service firm. The basics any reputable pyrotechnic display company should provide for you are noted as follows:
This should come at no charge to you. In a highly legally regulated environment you should designate the venue, but it is up to the fireworks company and assigned, properly licensed pyrotechnic operator to meet at the site to perform a thorough assessment.
The assessment should take into consideration the safety and security of spectators and the time of year, as well as anticipate the weather conditions for your event. State and local laws and requirements of the venue must be assessed and addressed weeks before your event date to make sure things go off without a hitch.
You should start early to allow sufficient time for your selected firm to perform all of the required tasks to make arrangements for an event that impacts traffic, parking, planning for weather, debris fallout, and adequate security of the pyrotechnic launch site.
No two shows are alike. Do you want a show synchronized to music? A show can have a specialized color theme or be a noisy show, or it can be a somewhat quieter display that is conducive to your vision, venue and the surrounding environs. Interpersonal communication is vital between you and the licensed pyrotechnic operator in charge of your display.
The venue risk management staff, site staff, and local authorities such as the fire authority, municipality, and police department, all participate in the permitting process. They are responsible for making sure that automatic sprinklers don’ t come on and destroy your show before it starts. These shouldn’t be your concerns; it’s up to the company and operators to address these issues for you.
Showtime is your time to stand back and enjoy your event. All aspects of the production, transportation, coordination, setup, display and cleanup are the responsibility of the fireworks company. The operator in charge should be in constant communication with you up until showtime to determine when exactly you want your display to begin.
Many permits have a specified timeframe, and some entities require a standby fire inspector to be on-site during the event. Standby fees are the clients’ responsibility and every effort is made to minimize the time you will be charged for a standby fire department staff member being on-site (if it is required). In today’s world, their direct radio communication with central dispatch avoids the embarrassment of police and fire units speeding to your event with lights and sirens blaring.
After the smoke has cleared, the return of the launch site to pre-show conditions are the responsibility of the pyro operator and crew. Any duds (unexploded components) must be located and safely, legally disposed. Wires, cardboard and paper debris, and show-related trash must be cleaned up and disposed of off-site at the fireworks company facility.
Cleanup is time and labor intensive but it is a vital part of the services you have paid for. California State law requires the licensed operator in charge to follow up with an early daylight inspection the following day to make sure the cleanup was thorough.
Post-show communication with you, the sponsor (or your designee), should be initiated by the operator in charge to be sure you are satisfied and there were no problems that may have gone unnoticed in the post-show afterglow.
Are “Indoor Fireworks” Safe?
Proximate pyrotechnics is a special class of pyrotechnic materials, requiring special licensing. They need the unique skills, knowledge and abilities of an experienced, licensed theatrical pyrotechnic operator. These materials can provide an exciting accent to any event, in a small or localized venue appropriate for their safe use.
The tragic “Great White” band “Station Nightclub” incident 2003 in Rhode Island was the fault of inexperienced individuals using products they should never have had access to in a venue that was clearly unsafe. Due to their negligence, 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter were accumulated and 230 individuals were needlessly injured. The blooming industry suffered a near fatal blow.
In the aftermath, due to lack of understanding of the art, many venues will not entertain proximate pyrotechnics or fireworks shows of any sort. But a full service company with qualified individuals, risk management, and venues that are fireworks-friendly can provide this service that many people have dreamed of for their special event.
Indoor effects range from simple sparklers to be used by wedding guests, to hearts, fountains, and a variety of special indoor effects that can make an indoor event a magical experience.
A Word about Cost:
A fully insured, licensed company will charge approximately $2,000 for the smallest public outdoor display. This includes all permitting, insurance, materials and costs for a licensed operator and capable crew. Prices for outdoor displays go up from there, and often the venue itself dictates or constrains the size of pyrotechnic shells that are safe to use.
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