Safety is always the number one consideration. Always think safety for the shooter, the crowd, animals & property. Common sense and sober responsible adults are the keys to safety. Taking time to plan your fireworks show and thinking about safety will prevent most incidents.


Shooters must be sober responsible adults and wear proper personal protection. All shooters must wear eye protection and proper clothing. Firemen turnouts are the best but Carharts or other heavy clothing with a collar can work. No nylon or rayon fabric that could melt from the touch of a spark should be worn. A hat or helmet should be worn to protect the head.

Crowd Control

The crowds must be a safe distance from the show. Someone should be in charge of crowd control. If someone goes into the safety zone the show should stop until the area is clear. This should be discussed in the safety meeting with the shooters before the show.

Discharge Area

The fireworks should only be discharged in areas approved by the local authorities. The local fire department should be notified. Do not discharge fireworks near buildings, wooded areas, dry fields or in areas where fire or noise is a concern. Discharge the fireworks downwind of the crowd and never angle or shoot the fireworks over the crowd.

Secrets of a Great Show

Always make sure that something is in the air. There should be little if any dead time. Continue to build the excitement and emotions. Finish with a solid finale.

Start with the smaller fireworks and end with a good finale, with lots of fireworks going off at one time. A fireworks show is a work of art in the sky.

A great fireworks show requires time to plan your show and time to layout the fireworks. It takes several people to shoot a show so there is a constant flow with little dead time. Six shooters is a good number. Volunteer firefighters are good shooters. The shooters should be reminded they are there to shoot the fireworks and must pay attention to safety, and should not stand around and watch too much or there will be too much dead time in the air.

One person should be in charge.

A good fireworks show will last 10-20 minutes. It will seem longer. You can only keep someone’s emotions high for so long. Even the biggest fireworks shows only last 20 minutes.

Once the finale is complete, DO NOT, go back and light any leftovers or missed items. To do so would ruin the finale and leave everyone a little disappointed. 30 minutes after the show, when the crowd has dispersed, is a good time to light any missed items.

The Layout

Take some time to plan your fireworks show. You should have one to two rows of fireworks perpendicular to the crowd. In each row put the smaller multi-shot items in the front. For the larger shows with two rows, put the same items in each row, in the same order. The rows should be 50 feet apart.

Twenty to twenty-five (20-25) feet behind the rows, place the mortar shells.

Begin the show with an attention grabber, usually a string of firecrackers or one single mortar shell.

Next, start with the smaller multi-shot items. Both rows should be shot off at the same time, one item at a time.
The mortars should be shot off at random in conjunction with the multi-shot aerials. Begin shooting the mortar shells slowly about one-third of the way into the multi-shot aerials. Increase the number of mortar shells as the multi-shot aerials reach the end of their row. Use as many shooters and loaders as possible.

For the finale, shoot off several multi-shot items at once and as many mortar shells as possible. Try very hard to end on a strong note. DO NOT shoot off any missed items because this would weaken the finale and leave the crowd wanting more.

Fireworks is art and there are many ways to please the eye. If you like a longer slower show you can have only one row of multi-shot items.
Always remember Safety is your number one concern.