COVID numbers might be going down in Missouri, but that’s no reason to risk contracting or spreading the virus. Even if you’re vaccinated, it’s still a good idea to keep gatherings COVID-safe.
A home fireworks display is the perfect choice to keep everyone safe and still have a good time. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the holidays without gathering indoors. As long as you have the space, you can safely light even aerial and explosive fireworks, or whatever types are permitted in your area. Keep your audience at a safe distance, use lumber to build mounting racks for your fireworks, and take the right precautions to avoid any injuries or fires. Here’s what you need to do.
Make Room for the Show
To have a safe fireworks show at home, you need plenty of room. Aerial fireworks, like skyrockets and roman candles, can have a spread of 30 feet or more when they burst in the sky, and that means they could be dropping hot debris for 180 feet or more beyond the firing line.
You don’t want flaming particles to land on your family or on your neighbors. To keep everyone safe and unburnt, put your audience upwind of the firing line at a distance that’s at least one and a half times the height of your highest-bursting firework. If you have room to put them further away, do so.
Make sure you have at least that same amount of space behind the firing line to create a safe fallout area where sparks and debris can fall without burning structures or damaging foliage or power lines. The larger your planned debris field, the better. Make sure there aren’t any obstructions like trees, buildings, or overhead power or phone lines above or in your fallout area.
Stabilize Your Fireworks
Tubes and mortars can fall over if they’re not secured to a rack, and some items like bottle rockets need to be stabilized, too. Use some scrap lumber, if you have any, to build a mounting rack for your mortars, tubes, and cakes. Screw some lengths of two-by-four, two-by-six, or two-by-two lumber to the bottom of a rectangle of plywood that’s at least two feet wide and eight feet long (the large piece of plywood is heavy enough and long to stabilize a large number of fireworks for a long show). You can screw your mortars and cakes directly to the plywood by driving screws at an angle through the bottom of each piece, and it shouldn’t harm the fireworks. If you want to light off a lot of tubes, mortars, and skyrockets, build a rack out of two-by-fours and fasten it to your plywood base. With the right rack design, you can aim some of your mortars at an angle to create a wider tableau in the sky.
Dress to Protect Yourself
You should wear 100 percent cotton clothing when lighting fireworks. Cotton isn’t fireproof, but it will ignite instead of melting like synthetics do, so if some sparks land on you, you’ll have a better shot at putting yourself out without getting burned badly. Cover as much of your skin as you can with long sleeves, jeans, boots, a backwards baseball cap (to cover your neck and head), and gloves. Protect your eyes with goggles.
Have Fire Extinguishers Handy
You shouldn’t be lighting off fireworks if there’s a high risk of starting a fire, but even if it just rained for days you should be prepared to douse unexpected flames. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, or connect a hose to your outdoor spigot and have it nearby, ready to turn on if a fire starts. If you don’t have either a fire extinguisher or a hose, at least have a bucket or two of water nearby.
Skip the Sparklers
Did you know that sparklers burn hot enough to melt metal? While you may have grown up waving sparklers, they’re really not safe, especially not for young children who can seriously burn themselves if they drop one on their feet. Stick to safe alternatives like glow sticks, black snakes, bang snaps, and confetti poppers.
A home fireworks display can be a fun and wholesome way to celebrate the holidays without risking a large indoor gathering. Just make sure you take the right precautions to keep everyone safe, and you can put on a performance that will have your friends and family talking about your skill with pyrotechnics for years into the future.