Safety Distances

Discussion in 'Fireworks Forum Chat And Discussion' started by Ben Hobson, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. In a tricky situation.

    If you're doing a firework show with consumer fireworks, and the maximum distance any of them state is 25m, would you be confident having the audience 25m away if it was the only option, or would you refuse to do it that close, even with just cat 3 fireworks?
  2. beeney

    beeney Pro Firer/Crew

    that would depend on your risk assessment, the weather ect ect... Personally even at 40m that can be to close with some products
  3. Dynamite Fireworks

    Dynamite Fireworks Pro Firer/Crew

    You’ll be opening yourself up here if done at 25m regardless of Cat3.

    Just remember that some Cat3 product can be as hefty or even more powerful as some Cat4 material and you wouldn’t entertain that at 25m.

    I think you mentioned previously you had crewed already for a professional company, so maybe take some experience learned from them in the planning and risk mitigation.

  4. Exbombhead

    Exbombhead Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    Bare minimum safety distance on consumer Fireworks has become a joke. There’s no way I’d put my kids anywhere near the 8m safety distance on some of the current Cat2 items and the same goes for cat3 distances.

    As said above, do a strict risk assessment and if you’re still in doubt, don’t fire!
    Jon, Lazarus1258 and hofnerite like this.
  5. RocketRev

    RocketRev Moderator Supports UKFR

    In the days of the old BS7114 you'd technically be OK in ideal wind conditions. That's because BS7114 cat3 fireworks were allowed to drop burning debris down to head height no further than 20m from the firework. Add a bit of a margin and you had the 25m spectator safety distance. But those days are gone now and I gather that that sort of specification wasn't included in the current EN15947 standard. So if I had no more than a 25m distance from firework to spectators, then I'd be carefully choosing my fireworks on the basis of how they actually perform with regard to fallout. And that means not choosing some fireworks even if they're officially cat2 rated. If I don't have that knowledge that for a firework, then it doesn't get chosen. If I don't have a choice over what fireworks are to be used, then it's a no go on the display for me.

    And remember - it's not just spectator distance that needs to be considered. I have advised against and declined to do displays that could get the spectators at the right distance only by putting the fireworks close to buildings so that meltable plastic conservatories and burnable dry leaves in gutters were within range of their burning debris.
    scoops likes this.
  6. scoops

    scoops Pro Firer/Crew

    The short answer from me would be "refuse" both from a risk and pleasure pov. Fireworks need a bit of distance to be enjoyed.
    You could justify by risk assessment, the use of certain cat 2 or 3 products and still pull of a decent but safe show but that depends on expectations of organiser in terms of show wanted etc.
  7. danielpyronutter

    danielpyronutter Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    I'm in a similar situation with only 25 metres.

    I've opted to use only 20mm with a few 25mm chucked in at the end.

    I've also done a lot of video watching to select fireworks that have minimal fallout.

    Also I am avoiding cakes that I see with an occasional low burst.

    I've completely scrapped ideas of 30mm cakes.

    I am alsa going to put a plywood board up directly in front of the fireworks in case of blowout.
    trueblue_ips likes this.
  8. danielpyronutter

    danielpyronutter Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    If you really want to be extra safe then use only cat2 20mm
  9. That's my suggestion too. Only fire what you feel safe doing. For example I can only fire Cat 2 but even I'm never firing Cat 2 30mm bore cakes in my garden. I do 20mm bore and have 1 or 2 25mm pieces at end. It's all about judging the size of the area and the size of the firework and if your ever pondering or wondering then it's pretty much a no.
  10. Dodgey

    Dodgey Pro Firer/Crew

    30 mm cakes at 25m is mad. Cat 3 or not.

    I fire plenty of cat 3 in pro shows and cake min distance is 80m due to seeing far too many items get too close at what I started with... 50m. Particularly if you get a gust of wind with any time-rain effect or crossette.
  11. i wouldn’t take some cat 2 as safe at 20m or 25m, as these can be 500grm 30mm
    I’d def stick to 20mm tubes. If your at all worried. Maybe also 1.4g not 1.3g as the flash causes a bigger spread.
    There are loads of great 20mm cakes about either cat 2 or cat 3 ( defaults to cat 3 over 500grm )
    Take advice from whom your purchasing from.
  12. My rear garden from firing site to spectators is 46/47m.

    As its been 7 years since ive done a display and fireworks have changed in power I'm going to move the spectators to in front of the garage so be a total of around 75metres away but that involves a building between them and the firing site in case anything goes wrong at ground level.

    My display will be split, starting with smaller items 20mm tubes etc and fountains/candles in the back garden with 40+metre distance then will take a small break and move everyone to the front garden for the big stuff for safety reasons.
  13. The 8m/25m thing really needs to be updated/changed, maybe that would be possible when we've left the EU? Imo it should go on tube size over weight, anything over say 22mm should be cat 3 regardless of nec.
  14. Jon

    Jon Pro Firer/Crew

    Danger is that most people believe wrongly they are safety distances rather than minimum spectator distances, if they reflected reality who would buy fireworks that said "Spectators must be at least 50m away" when most have tiny gardens.

    If you want true safety then maybe you should stand further away by say 30m of the burst height plus radius.....but then that may be 100's of metres!!
  15. trueblue_ips

    trueblue_ips Supports UKFR

    Surely there's a sensible balance between pragmatic risk management with appropriate safety precautions and enjoyment.
    You could be totally safe and not fire anything. I take into account wind conditions but generally I fire:
    fountains and candles from about 15-20 metres.
    20mm cakes from 25 metres.
    25mm cakes from 30-35 metres.
    30mm cakes from 40 metres which is as far back as I can go.
    That includes 1.3g and big pieces though I avoid wide fan cakes as I have neighbours either side.
    I also avoid rockets because I don't think it's fair to have sticks falling in a residential area but plenty of people around me do fire rockets.
    It's only one or two nights a year for most people and I like to think I'm better informed than the average punter on safety who may just read the label for a cat 2 30mm firework and fire from 8 metres :eek:

    Aren't most firework incidents caused by things like unsafe use of sparklers?
    Pyro Pete and SydB like this.
  16. hofnerite

    hofnerite UKFR Stash Photo 2018 Winner! Supports UKFR

    I've been doing a school display since 2014 and every year I've set up further away from the audience, not just for safety but because it looks so much better.
    This year all cakes (CAT2 and 3) will be at 65m with a module at 30m for fountains.
    Even the smallest CAT2 cakes at 25m gives the audience neck ache.

    I tried to work out a risk formula a few years ago for cake vs distance in the case of a blow out and tube firing horizontally. The basis of it was that if you draw concentric circles around a cake at 8, 25, 50, 100m an audience line of say 10m is about 1/5th of the 8m circle, 1/20th of the 25m circle etc..
    Therefore the further away the audience is, the less risk of a projectile firing towards the them and the risk level from this formula is a bit more tangible for a RA rather than just guesswork. It's a kind of inverse square law.
    There may well be a more official formula for pro displays out there somewhere?
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  17. Thank you for your replies.

    I didn't want to do it at 25m, and I originally told them that. The distance from the spectators is actually around 35m. They kept pestering me to do it.

    I don't know whether to tell them it would have to by designed with the safety distances in mind, not the look of the show, or whether to not do it full stop, even with the cat 2 stuff?
  18. Exbombhead

    Exbombhead Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    If you’re still contemplating it maybe post a google earth image and let the folk on here help (beware, a bun fight could rapidly ensue)
    beeney likes this.
  19. danielpyronutter

    danielpyronutter Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    As suggested, there is plenty of good quality 20mm cakes around from the likes of :

    And I'm sure more
  20. danielpyronutter

    danielpyronutter Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR