If your community has been canceling fireworks shows out of concern for COVID-19 spikes, never fear. You don’t have to wait for your town to put on a pyrotechnics display. You can host your own spectacular fireworks display at home, as long as you have the right supplies and plenty of space.
All you need to host a home fireworks show is a large enough backyard and some basic supplies and safety equipment. The rest is a matter of elbow grease. These tips will help you bring it all together.
Buy Your Fireworks
Whether you buy fireworks online or in a store or vendor tent, you need to plan your display carefully. Keep in mind that many aerial fireworks last only for about 30 seconds, so you may want to stretch the visuals out with fountains and smoke bombs, or simply by letting off a series of bottle rockets, one at a time. Plan to spend one-third to one-half of your fireworks budget on the finale alone. If you’re budget conscious, look at 200- and 300-gram cakes – they can be just as impressive as 500-gram cakes, for a lot less money.
Build Your Racks
You should never hold fireworks in your hand while you’re lighting them, and certainly not while they’re erupting. You also don’t want to just sit your aerial fireworks on the ground – cakes might be okay, but some aerial fireworks can easily fall over and fire their payloads at you and your spectators. Setting your fireworks on the ground is just asking for injuries to happen.
Instead, you need to build racks to attach them to. Most people build racks out of wood. You can build a mortar rack out of two-by-threes and one-by-fours. If your carpentry skills are minimal, you can build a wooden rack out of a two-foot-wide-by-eight-foot-long piece of thick plywood – screw some lengths of two-by-fours or two-by-twos to the bottom to make it easier to pick up. You can screw your fireworks to the plywood in firing order – just drive screws through the plastic base of the fireworks, where the clay plug should be.
Put On Your Safety Gear
Fireworks are just as dangerous as any other explosives, so you need to make sure you’re protected from burns and explosions. You’re not going to be standing at a safe distance during the show – you’ll be right next to the fireworks. Make sure you never turn your back on a lit firework – you never know when it’s going to malfunction and spitfire and sparks in an unexpected direction.
To keep yourself safe from burns, cover as much of your body as you can in 100 percent cotton garments. Cotton isn’t fire-resistant, but unlike synthetic fabrics, it catches on fire rather than melting. That means that if sparks hit your cotton shirt or jeans, they won’t melt into your flesh, so your risk of sustaining serious injuries is much lower.
Put on a long-sleeved cotton top and jeans. Work boots with cotton socks will keep your feet safe, and you’ll need gloves to keep your hands safe. Wear a construction hat or a ball cap turned around so that the visor can protect the back of your neck, and goggles to protect your delicate eyes from flying sparks.
Keep Everyone at a Safe Distance
The number one thing you need in order to have a safe home fireworks show is space. Spectators should be kept back from the firing line at a distance of one-and-a-half times the height of your highest-flying firework. So if your highest aerial goes up to a height of 200 feet, spectators need to be standing 300 feet back from the firing line.
Spectators should also be upwind of the firing line. You want all fallout and debris to fall over the fallout zone, which should be downwind of the firing line. You should be okay to go ahead with the show if it’s raining unless it’s also windy. Anything more than a stiff breeze could spread burning debris in unexpected directions, including out of the fallout zone and toward the spectators, or toward structures and foliage that you’d prefer to keep intact and unburnt.
Your fallout zone should be free of any power lines, trees, or structures. Figure out what your largest firework’s break, or width of display, will be – for example, 30 feet wide – and make sure your fallout zone is large enough to accommodate it.
A home fireworks display can be a wonderful bonding occasion for friends, neighbors, and family. With just a little planning and some minimal equipment, you can put on a memorable display that will dazzle your audience.