Fireworks are great fun. Here is information to help your celebration be a safe one.

     One more thing to remember:

NOTICE: I have been notified of an electric match being ignited by the static electric charge generated by the type of plastic chairs some people are using at display sites. I now recommend plastic chairs NOT be used at display sites during show preparation.
Americans should check out the National Council on Firework Safety, Inc. site by clicking


UK visitors to this site should check out this new UK Fireworks Safety Site by clicking HERE.

Statistics released by the U.S.Consumer Product Safety Commission, reveals the following information concerning estimated U.S. injuries from fireworks. The trend is going in the right direction but much more improvement can be made. Notice the wonderful improvement made in 1996. The statistics are inflated because the CPSC includes accidents from illegal and home-made fireworks in the following numbers.

         YEAR      ANNUAL

GOOD NEWS !!!  (Editorial)

 It appears the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission will have no choice but to admit the truth...we currently have the lowest American consumer fireworks injury rate in history. This trend started in 1995 and has definitely continued after that. The safer we all are with fireworks, the more fireworks we will keep legal and more new states may open up firework sales that do not have them now. Fireworks offered for sale today are safer. Continue this safety trend by using them safely. Read my Fireworks Safety page. There are other good safety info sites also. Seek them out. Use common sense. If we want to keep things like fireworks that are so dear to us, we have to prove to the federal, state and local governments we can use them safely and sensibly. This includes less injuries, less fires and less bothering the neighbors with loud noises late at night. In recent years there have been drastic fireworks bans in other countries. We do not want that happening here in the United States. As long as the injury rate continues to fall, it probably won't.

THE FIRST TIME (firing display fireworks that is)

For years the larger displays have been fired electrically. Each device is fitted with an "electric match" that is connected to an electronic firing panel. I may be several hundred feet away from the fireworks when each flip of the switch ignites some piece of magical fire. It is safer than the old way of "hand firing" displays.

Before electrical firing became the preferred method, it was "in your face" fireworks. My first chance to send the big shells upward will NEVER be forgotten, something I expect every pyrotechnician will agree with. If part of a firing crew, you are much closer to the fireworks than the audience is, but expected to stay at a safe distance. Then it comes. You are handed a highway fusee for the first time and expected to walk up to the firing line and make the magic happen.

You are no longer a hundred feet away, or fifty, or even ten. The fuse only extends a few inches out of each mortar. You step up to the mortar line, crouch down and make sure your head and body are well away from the mouth of the mortar. Your free hand removes the fuse safety cap from one shell and then your other hand touches the fire to that little black fuse. You now only have time to turn your back to the mortar and take a crouched step or two away. The fuse burns slowly for a few seconds, but when it enters the paper fuse tube, the wait is over. Sixty feet per second is the fuse burn rate now, so it is just a few thousandths of a second before WHAM, the shell is on its way up.

You hear and FEEL the explosion that propels the shell skyward. The audience hears a WHUMP but you feel a whump and hear a BOOM. Your heart races as adrenalin adds to the excitement. You have just done something so very few people ever get the chance to do. You want to fire the next shell now and it is an even larger diameter shell. The "first shell jitters" are over but you are still VERY cautious.

On it goes, shell by shell, as long as your first turn as firer lasts. Only when you pass the fire off to someone else, or the display ends, do you realize how pumped you are and how potentially dangerous what you have done for the first time really is. The exhilaration is incredible but you have already realized it is a truly serious job that requires one to be extremely safety conscious ABSOLUTELY EVERY TIME a fuse is lit.

I invite you to also see my page about "Your Own Firework Display" by clicking HERE.