Essential fireworks equipment
Setting up a fireworks display requires a surprising amount of additional equipment. Forgetting any of it can make things really hard and even compromise safety. So here’s a useful list of things you’ll need which covers both back garden displays and larger venues if appropriate.
Equipment for staking out fireworks
Wooden stakes are easy to make from old timber. Simply saw into pieces long enough to support your fireworks. Putting a point on each stake makes life easier. Make sure you have enough for all of your fireworks with some spares.
Large wooden posts
If you are using wheels or mounting set pieces you will need some larger posts.
Useful in case you want to change the length of a stake or saw one in half to make an extra one.
Plenty of it -to secure your fireworks to your stakes. You can also use duct tape, parcel tape etc.
Using wheels? Check each wheel comes with a nail before getting on site. Take some spares too in case you bend them during set up.
Good quality sledgehammer
Worth its weight in gold is a good lump hammer or sledgehammer. Don’t forget a spare if there’s a couple of you setting up.
Always useful as a back up in case you run out of tape. Also good for securing candles, and lancework frames to posts.
Very handy for ensuring your cakes sit on a level surface and for protecting them from wet grass or the moisture in the soil. It’s best to have a separate board for each firework.
Labels and marker pens
Are you noting each firework with a number from a running order? If so don’t forget your labels and a marker pen.
Bin liners or clingfilm
How are you waterproofing your fireworks if you are doing this on site? If using bags take plenty – at least two for each firework. If you are using clingfilm then take several rolls.
Useful for opening firework boxes and cutting gaffa tape amongst other things.
The quickest way to cut cable ties if you are using them.
Equipment for firing
Torches and spare batteries
Every firer must have a torch. This is critical equipment! It’s useful to take some spare batteries too and even better to have a few spare torches in case of problems. Wind up torches are a good emergency back up since they don’t have batteries which can leak if left for long periods in the bottom of your toolbox.
ALWAYS take plenty of portfires! Using gas torches? What if they run out of gas, break, or get clogged up with soot? You’ll need to fall back to portfires. Using an electric ignition system? What if it doesn’t work or the batteries fail? You’ll need to fall back to portfires.
Something to light the portfires or torch
Remember to take something to light them with – a good quality windproof lighter is recommended.
Firing system and spare batteries
If you are using a firing system remember to take the igniters and any spares you may need such as batteries.
It is down to personal preference whether you have a hard hat and googles or an all-in-one helmet and visor, whether you wear good boots or proper industrial protective footwear and so on, but whatever you wear ALWAYS check it’s all there before you set off. A spare set is handy in case someone else forgets theirs or you need to use an extra firer on the night.
Remember to take your firing list if this has been worked out beforehand. Clipboards are also useful.
Fire extinguishers or similar
For larger displays it is worth taking fire extinguishers or something similar such as buckets of water or sand.
First aid kit
It’s not unusual to have minor injuries during setting up from hammering, splinters etc so take a first aid kit.
Equipment for the venue
Are you responsible for marking the safety areas? If so you’ll need to remember your tape and poles.
Boxes, bags or trolleys
If you are not able to get your car or van to the firing area how are you going to carry your fireworks and equipment over? Take some boxes or bags in case.
A sign for your car or van
If parking away from the site it’s useful to put a sign on your dashboard saying why you are parking there.
Never display without a mobile phone. You’ll need it in case of emergencies. Make sure it’s charged up.
Sun cream and a hat
For summer displays sun block and a hat are useful if you don’t want to turn into a lobster.
Even in the summer it can turn cool as you wait for darkness. Always take warm clothing.
Handy if you’re going to be kneeling a lot during setting up.
Good for keeping your tools to hand.
Food and drink
Firework displays often entail lots of waiting around. Take plenty of food and drink.
Something to sit on
See above. Throw a few folding chairs into the van or car.
Camera and video equipment
If you’re filming the display then you’ll need to remember your camera, memory card or tapes, tripod, lens cloth and so on.