Training is always useful before attempting to let off fireworks. This article explodes a few myths and then looks at your options.
Fireworks training – some common misconceptions
Legally, you do not need any form of training or licence to buy and use consumer fireworks.
Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as a fireworks “licence” and in particular, no amount of training entitles a member of the public to buy and use professional (Category 4) fireworks.
Getting trained to use fireworks
Taking into account the above statements, it is no surprise then to find there is no official course or training for the use of consumer fireworks. Your options are strictly limited to in-house training provided by fireworks retailers or similar companies.
This creates some confusion where members of the public are firing a large display (eg. for a local community group) and require insurance cover. The insurance company normally requests the firers undertake training before they can be insured. Luckily, most underwriters do accept training courses offered by retailers as sufficient. Be aware though, a certificate given at the end of your training course by your fireworks retailer has no official status.
Despite these limitations, training of any kind is always recommended where the fireworks display goes beyond a simple back garden event, especially so where the display has public spectators and is insured.
Several larger firework retailers offer training courses. Ask your retailer when you are buying your fireworks. A good course will cover organisation of a public event, setting up and letting off your fireworks and what to do if things go wrong.
BPA Level 1 and Level 2 training
When you are looking around retailers’ websites and catalogues you may come across the terms BPA Level 1 and 2. These refer to training qualifications undertaken by firers and relate only to professional fireworks. Members of the public cannot normally undertake these courses and importantly, a BPA qualification does not in itself allow a member of the public to buy and use professional (Category 4) fireworks.
Ask your fireworks retailer about training if you feel you need it. Some retailers offer free course places for orders over a certain value.
If you are working through the beginner’s “Start here!” guide you can return to it here. Or, pick a new help topic from the menus at the top of the page.
When you are ready to buy fireworks have a look at UKFR’s Buying Fireworks guide for advice and the Buy Fireworks page for a listing of fireworks suppliers. Always give these companies priority with your fireworks cash (find out why).
If you want to ask for help or have any other questions, try the UKFR Fireworks Forum. Beginners are warmly welcomed and the firework community here is standing by to help you.