With summer fireworks sale tents popping up at shopping centers across the country, and fireworks available for sale online, too, there’s absolutely no reason to wait for your local municipality or county to host a public fireworks show. You can light off fireworks at home and enjoy a dazzling pyrotechnics show with your friends and family, anytime you want!
Setting up a home fireworks show isn’t as hard as you might think. With aerial fireworks that you can buy over the counter, you can make a fireworks display that rivals the pros. Follow these tips to do it right, and keep everyone safe.
Check Your Local Laws
Before you put on a fireworks show at your home, and especially before you buy aerial and ground-based fireworks online, make sure fireworks are legal in your jurisdiction. Most states allow the consumers to buy aerial and non-aerial fireworks, but a few states allow only ground-based fireworks and an even smaller number allow no fireworks at all. If you get caught setting off illegal fireworks in your jurisdiction, you could have your fireworks confiscated and end up with a fine or even an arrest on your record.
Choose a Show Location with Plenty of Space
If you want to host a home fireworks show with aerial fireworks, like mortars, bottle rockets, artillery shells, and roman candles, you’re going to need a ton of space. Read the fireworks’ packaging carefully to see how high they ascend and how wide the break is when it bursts open in the air. You’ll need a fallout zone that is large enough to accommodate the entire break size – that means an area at least 30 feet across, with no flammable debris, trees, structures, or buildings in it.
You’ll also need to keep your audience pretty far back from the firing line – at least 1.5 times the distance of your highest aerial firework’s breaking height. If your highest firework goes up to a height of 120 feet, for example, you need to have your audience 180 feet behind the firing line. That way, if something goes wrong and your fireworks shoot towards the crowd, they’ll be safe. However, if you’re sticking to non-aerial fireworks for your home display, you probably don’t need that much space. Non-aerial fireworks are the way to go if you only have a small space, since audiences only need to be a minimum of 15 feet away.
Put Safety First
Fire safety is incredibly important when you’re setting off fireworks at home. Fireworks throw sparks and aerial fireworks can drop burning debris all over the fallout zone.
Protect your audience by keeping them at a safe distance from the firing line. Protect yourself with safety gear. The majority of people who sustain injuries from lighting off fireworks sustain them to the face and eyes, so wear safety goggles, and make sure you’re not leaning over the fireworks when you’re lighting them. Lean away to keep your face out of firing range, and use one of those long grill lighters to put some more distance between yourself and the explosive.
Wear long pants and long sleeves while lighting fireworks. Wear 100 percent cotton fabric – it won’t melt into your skin if sparks fall on it. Wear closed-toed shoes to protect your feet, and a hat with a brim to protect your neck and head (if you don’t have a hat with a brim, wear a baseball cap backward to protect your neck). Don’t let anyone else light any of the fireworks – it’s safer if only one person is at risk. Once you’ve lit a fuse, retreat to a safe distance to watch with your audience. Be ready with water or a fire extinguisher to extinguish any flames that might erupt, and make sure to wet down spent pyrotechnics so they aren’t still smoldering when you put them in the trash.
Ready Your Pyrotechnics Beforehand
It’s a good idea to stabilize your fireworks in a homemade mortar rack or by attaching them to a length of plywood so that they don’t fall over during firing. You can attach fireworks to an eight-foot length of plywood by driving screws through the plastic plate on the bottom of most aerial fireworks. You can also plunge fireworks like mortars and bottle rockets into a bucket of sand to keep them steady while they’re firing.
Hosting a fireworks show at home can be a good time for the whole family, as long you do it right. Use fireworks safely and responsibly, and you’ll create memories to be cherished.