After the display

Congratulations, you’ve fired your display and hopefully it has gone without a hitch. Enjoy the moment and soak up the crowd’s applause because it’s time for the post-display wind down. Your work isn’t over yet!

 

Immediately after the display

Checklist:

  • Treat the fireworks as if they are still live. Ensure the crowd remains at all times away from the safety and fireworks areas while you begin to clear up.
  • Give any problem fireworks a wide berth until last. This would include any that are still smouldering, are on fire, or only part fired.
  • Check with your firers that everyone is OK and there are no injuries or concerns.
  • Check that all of your firework lighters are safely out.
  • It is recommended to keep your protective clothing on until after the fireworks are cleared up, just in case.

 

Clearing up

How extensive your clearing up is depends on the venue. At the least you should clear away all spent firework carcasses and any major litter. Whether you go as far as picking up each piece of paper debris would be dictated by the area you fired in. For larger displays away from your garden you can often find a friendly groundsperson who will run the mower over in the morning to pick up paper litter. It’s a back breaking job doing it by hand, however often there is no choice.

Some firework clearing tips:

  • Allow longer than expected. If your display ends at 10.30pm, don’t expect to be off site until after midnight.
  • Get some light on the matter – drive vans or cars into the area if you can so you can use their headlights.
  • If possible come back the next morning too. It’s easier to clear up in daylight, but please take the bulk of the debris off-site on the night, for safety reasons.
  • NEVER leave even spent fireworks on site unattended – clear them all up!
  • Try not to lean over fireworks when you are unsecuring them. Although the chances of a late shot are very rare if the firework is no longer smoking, smouldering or burning, it’s a useful safety habit to get into.
  • Try to recover stakes and use them again. That means easing them out gently, not snapping them off!
  • Fill in any holes and carefully replace any turf (which of course you saved before digging the hole!).

Please do not put spent fireworks on a fire! This is highly dangerous because some fireworks may contain unexploded shells.

For the back garden, a lot of the smaller paper bits can be picked up with a good lawnmower. For bigger venues, many professionals use an industrial self-powered outdoor vacuum called a “Billy Goat”. UKFR Forum members report that flat bladed garden rakes are very effective at rounding up fireworks litter.

 

Disposing of part-fired or “dud” fireworks

This is one of those common enquiries that never gets a straight, official answer from retailers. This is probably because no-one wants to commit to saying “Yes, it’s OK to soak them and put them in the wheely bin”.

In the absence then of a recognised disposal procedure, UKFR would suggest the following common sense approach, at your own risk of course:

  • Where possible, take the part-fired item back to the retailer. Not only will they be able to handle disposal but they may be sympathetic to a replacement if it was faulty.
  • It is worth telephoning your local Fire Authority for advice.
  • If you have to dispose of it, you must render the explosives inert. It is suggested you can do this by soaking the item in water for at least 24 hours.
  • Never, ever, try to dispose of old fireworks on a fire!

UKFR is currently researching this subject in order to get a definitive answer and this page will be updated should the advice above change.

©1999-2015 UK Firework Review

Established in 1999, UKFR remains independent from the fireworks trade and does not sell fireworks.