Category Archives: About Fireworks

Firework Colours

This article will explain firework colours. Why and how can fireworks produce different colours when they explode?

Up until the last 100 years or so, all fireworks were simply a yellow, white and orange ‘fire’ colours. It is only in relatively recent years with the technological chemical advancements that we can pick and choose firework colours.

There are two main ways to create firework colours.

  • Incandescence
  • Luminescence

Put simply, incandesence is colour produced by heat. When a substance is heated, it will glow within a coloured spectrum. As the substance gets hotter, different colours will appear, from red, to orange, then yellow and finally bright white. Adding metals such as alumiunium, magnesium and titanium can be used to increase the temperature in a controlled method in order to alter firework colours.

But what about the other  firework colours? How can we get greens and blues for example? Where this is where luminescence needs to take place. Incansescence cannot be used here since the temperatures required would be too hot for any firework to handle (over 1400 degrees Celsius).

Luminescence is where light is produced using energy other than heat. In fact, it can even occur at room temperature or cooler. Different chemical compounds are introduced into the manufacture of the firework in controlled and stable quantities. Then when the firework is lit, the different chemicals react and bond at an atomic level thus producing even more wonderful colours. Some of the chemicals which make firework colours include:

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So there you have it, a brief and basic introduction into firework colours! Remember here at Fireworks Den, we have fireworks available all year round (and in all sort of colours!) So get yourselves down to our dedicated showroom and tell us your chemical of choice!

 

Firework Effects

When considering buying fireworks, you may be interested in the different firework effects available. There are so many to choose from, and some are very difficult to differentiate, but here at Fireworks Den, we aim to give you a description of some of the firework effects you might want to consider

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Visual Colour Effects: There are fireworks available in one colour, or in multi-colours. Perhaps you might want to celebrate a golden wedding and have all shots in a golden colour – then coloured firework effects is something to consider. An example of a single coloured firework is Maximum Showtime, whereas a multi-coloured firework would be The King of Colour.

Visual Direction Effects: Depending on the space you have to light your fireworks, you will want to consider the directional firework effects. Some fireworks will fire straight up – which is better if there are overhanging trees for example. Other fireworks will have shots going from side to side and therefore have a much wider spread. You will need a bigger space for this. You can see some firework videos on our website to demonstrate this. A straight up firework would be The Dark Angel. A side to side firework is Zero to Sixty.

Visual Shape Effects: When the shells within fireworks are manufactured, they are made to break in different ways. This produces different shapes of firework effects. Some of the most common ones are listed here.

  • Stars – These are small glowing balls of fire which shoot from the firework. These are most commonly found in Roman Candles, for example Shooting Stars which is available at Fireworks Den. 
  • Bombettes – These are much like stars, but finish with a small explosion. These can be seen well in the video for ‘Lightening Strike’ in our 24 Shot Assortment.
  • Trails – These are the shapes left behind in the sky once the main shot has exploded. There are so many variations here, and many are very similar. Some of our favourites include palms and willows (seen in The King Rocket); brocades and chrysanthemums (seen in the Big Mama Rockets); and Serpents (seen in Catherine Wheels in the Sky with Diamonds).

Sound Effects:  It is better to watch videos rather than give you a list of descriptions here! These are some of the sound firework effects to look out for:

  • Bangs
  • Whistles
  • Crackles

Bangs and whistles can be heard in Inferno, and Crackles can be heard approximately 50 seconds into the video for Sky Thriller.

Now sit back and enjoy. Consider what effects you want from your fireworks, then come and speak to the experts here at Fireworks Den, or contact us on the phone, and we can help you choose the best option for you. We look forward to helping you soon!

Firework Equipment

Bringing the correct firework equipment along with you when creating a firework display is an essential part of firework safety. Here at Firereworks Den, we have provided a helpful checklist of firework equipment which is both handy as well as essential.

Wooden Stakes/posts

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These are essential for supporting your fireworks and ensuring that they cannot move from their position on the ground. You can buy these in many garden centers, or simply make them from old timer. A spike on one end will help to push the stakes into the ground. You can use larger posts to attach catherine wheels to. Think of the sizes you might require so that you can have the appropriate length and thickness of the stakes pre-prepared.

Gaffa Tape

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There isnt a much better way to secure your fireworks to your stakes other than using gaffa tape – an invaluable piece of firework equipment indeed! There are many varieties on the market – you can see a selection here.

A heavy duty hammer/mallet

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Use one of these to help push the wooden stakes into the ground. This is an especially useful piece of firework equipment if the ground is dry. The type of mallet used here is similar to one used for tent pegs when camping.

Nails

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These should be used to fix catherine wheels to your wooden stakes. Most catherine wheels should come with a nail, but in case it is missing from the packet, or damaged, it is always a good idea to take some spares with you.

Wooden Boards

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If you cannot be sure that the ground is level where you plan to have your display, you might want to consider taking some wooden boards with you so that any cakes or barrages sit correctly. This will not only guarantee you a level surface, but it will also protect the base of your fireworks from any ground moisture.

Cable Ties

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Another useful piece of firework equipment here. A great way to attach roman candles to posts.

Labels, Permanent Pens, & Firing List

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Plan the order you wish to light your fireworks to create the perfect display. (See previous blog entry on suggested lighting orders). This is your firing list. Also mark some self adhesive labels with numbers to match the list and stick to the firework. This will be very useful when setting them out.

Bin Liners

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These will not only be great for keeping your fireworks dry until they are being used, but will also prove to be invaluable when clearing up the site at the end of the display! Use strong bags as fireworks can be heavy and might break through cheaper bin liners.

Torch and batteries

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Most firework displays will happen at night time or low light conditions, so bring a torch with spare batteries so that you can see what you are doing! It will help to ensure the firework is facing in the correct direction, and that it is securely fixed in place. A head torch is ideal since it will keep your hands free. Remember to bring more than one if someone else is helping you with the display.

Wire Cutters / strong scissors/ Knife

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Some fireworks will be sold in metal cages for safe transportation. It is a good idea to bring some wire cutters or strong scissors to help open the cages. A knife or scissors will also be helpful to open up any extra firework packaging.

Portfires and lighters

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Portfires are used to light the fuses on fireworks safely. They burn for a long time and will not blow out with a gust of wind. You should never light a firework directly with a match or lighter, since it should be done at arms length. Remember you will need to bring a lighter (preferably windproof) to light the portfire in the first place too!

Suitable clothing

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Although this is not strictly ‘firework equipment’ it is still good to consider what you are wearing when lighting fireworks. We would recommend that you wear some sturdy shoes which will not slip in any wet or muddy conditions. You might also want to wear safety goggles and gloves too. Remember to wrap up warm too – Winter nights can be very chilly!

Fire Extinguisher

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A fire extinguisher or buckets of water should always be present at any firework display. This will help put out any flames which should not be there! Remember never to return to a lit firework however. If a firework is smoldering  it is best to leave it until it has cooled down completely. Some people also like to have a bucket of sand at hand for these purposes too.

First Aid Kit and mobile phone

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Should there be any small injuries, it is always best to have a first aid kit handy. Even with the most well prepared firework displays, it is good to have an element of caution. You should also have a fully charged mobile phone with you to contact the emergency services if necessary.

Perimeter tape & poles

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These are both essential bits of firework equipment so that you can clearly mark the area where the fireworks are, and where no spectators should pass. Remember to consider the safety distances suggested on each firework – they are there for a reason! A bright coloured tape attached around poles will be better in low light conditions.

Food and Drink

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Setting up a display can take some time, so keep your energy levels up and come prepared with some food and drinks – even a thermos with something warm! Please do not drink any alcohol when in charge of a firework display. You are in a position of responsibility and must keep yourself and everyone else safe at the same time.

Some optional extra firework equipment might include a trolley to help move heavier firework boxes, some camping chairs so your guests can sit back and enjoy the show, and also a decent camera or camcorder to record the show – you can then look back and remember what a great (and well prepared) time you had!

Of course don’t forget to bring the fireworks too! Check out our full range at Fireworks Den!

Firework laws and regulations

This blog entry is about firework laws and regulations in the UK. If you are interested in firework laws and regulations in any other country, we suggest you search for your governmental directives regarding fireworks published in your chosen country.

There are many firework laws and regulations in the UK, and we are going to highlight some of the most commonly asked questions here. If there is something you are not sure about, please contact us at Fireworks Den and we will try to answer your questions.

When can I light fireworks?

Firework laws and regulations surrounding this are relatively simple. Fireworks can be used any day of the year in the UK. Yes, they are not just for Guy Fawkes! HOWEVER, with exception to the following dates, fireworks cannot be lit after 11pm.

  • 5th November (Guy Fawkes) – Until Midnight
  • 31st December (New Year’s Eve) – Until 1am
  • Diwali (Variable dates each year) – Until 1am
  • Chinese New Year (Variable dates) – Until 1am

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Can I light fireworks anywhere?

The short answer here is NO. You can legally set off fireworks on your own private land, or where you explicitly have the landowners permission. It is ILLEGAL to set off fireworks in any public place including parks, streets or beaches. There are obvious safety issues here such as people being injured, and fireworks being mistaken for distress flares at sea.

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Do I need insurance?

The firework laws and regulations regarding insurance largely depend on the type of display you are having. It is the understanding of Fireworks Den that you do not need insurance to hold a small private firework display in your own private land. If you are hosting a larger display where members of the public are invited, then it would be advised to take the appropriate insurance in this case. Ultimately it is your responsibility to keep people and the land safe during the display and to return the area in the same condition as it was before the display.

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Do I need a license to set off fireworks?

This depends on the types of fireworks you are using. If you are using category 2 or 3 fireworks in a private display (see previous blog entry about firework categories here) then you do not need a license to light consumer fireworks. If you are using professional fireworks, you will need to be licensed. In this instance, you should have acquired this license and qualification with the organisation whom are hosting the display.

Can anyone buy fireworks?

According to UK firework laws and regulations, only persons over the age of 18 are able to purchase consumer (category 2 or 3) fireworks. You may be asked to provide identification in the form of a passport or driving license for this. The law concerning the age restriction can be seen here.

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Can I transport fireworks?

Fireworks are classified as explosives. As such they cannot be sent through the post, and are often prohibited on airlines, boats, trains and other forms of public transport. We would suggest that you contact the specific carrier you wish to use to see if it is possible to transport your fireworks if labelled and stored correctly. If transporting in your own vehicle, please refer to your own insurance companies to check if transporting fireworks effects your insurance policy.

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For further information, we can suggest you look at the following websites.

Firework Displays

When it comes to organising firework displays, there are many things to consider, from your venue, the budget, responsible places to source the fireworks from, and also how best to structure your firework displays to ensure maximum enjoyment from your audience. Like every good story, a firework display needs a beginning, a middle, and and end – or in this case – a fabulous finale with a bang!

Of course our blogs are only suggestions from our tried and tested methods when organising firework displays, so if you have your own preferred structure, then please go ahead! Remember, most people will not know how the display was meant to be structured, so do not panic if you light them in slightly the wrong order. Having said that, make sure you keep your finale till the end. But more about that later!

Beginning the display:

The opening of firework displays generally goes one of two ways. Either open the show with a bang to grab the attention of the spectators, or start with something smaller and build up the show from there. If you prefer the former, then a couple of great rockets are the way to go. They shoot high, they are loud, and certainly pack a punch. Take a look at the rockets for firework displays available at Fireworks Den here. For those of you wanting to start with something a little quieter, we would suggest using some ground fireworks such as mines, cones and fountains. You can check out our selection for your firework displays here. If you simply cant decide between a rocket start vs. a gentle opening, then perhaps mix some fountains with some roman candles or smaller barrages so there are some shots which go sky high. You might want to give out sparklers to the spectators to increase their involvement in the display. Everyone loves a sparkler!

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The middle:

Here is where your firework displays get interesting. You need to introduce many colours, effects and sounds into the mix. You need to pick up the pace, leave no gaps between fireworks – perhaps even light more than one at a time. Remember fireworks need to be spaced a safe distance from each other, so you may need someone to help you if you want to light more than one firework at a time. It is at this part of firework displays that we would suggest introducing some small barrages, followed by some of the larger ones. Just be aware that some barrages so have rather spectacular endings, so don’t pick something that will overshadow your overall finale for the entire firework display. You can check out the small barrages and large barrages complete with videos on the Fireworks Den website. You might want to continue using some ground fireworks throughout the middle part of your firework displays rather than have everything with high flying shots.

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The Grand Finale:

This is the part of the display that people will remember, so give them some great memories! It arguably the most popular part of the entire display even though it might only consist of one or two fireworks. Enter the single ignitions. Many of the larger ones have incredible finales sure to give that wow factor. Some of these have a very large spread, so make sure you have enough space to light these safely. Our favourite is Maximum Showtime. Check out the details and video here. Simply amazing.

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So that is the story. Remember, grab the attention of the audience, avoid gaps in your firework displays, and end with a bang to remember!

Firework Categories

When it comes to buying fireworks, people often ask us for the biggest and loudest fireworks going – this is where firework categories need some explanation.

Firework categories are a way of classifying the quantity of gunpowder within each firework. This will determine how loud, how high, and how long each firework will last. Importantly, firework categories also dictate how fireworks can be sold, transported, and how they must be stored.

In simple terms, there are 3 main firework categories. Categories 2, 3, and 4.

Category 2 fireworks are ‘garden fireworks’. By British Standards, this means they only require a 5 metre safety distance and therefore they are most suitable for use in smaller spaces. They do not fire particularly high, and are not overly loud. This is ideal if using in densely populated urban areas – especially with children and pets around. This is not to say however that category 2 fireworks are boring. In fact here at Fireworks Den, our selection of fireworks in this category are still spectacular and extremely popular. For instance, check out this selection box. You get a lot of bang for your buck, and the variety is huge.

The next level up in the world of firework categories is level 3. These are known as display fireworks. They require a larger distance than category 2 (25 meters by current British Standards). They fire larger shots, and tend to be longer lasting. When purchasing these kind of fireworks, you have to think more carefully about the space around your display. Are there overhanging trees for example? Are there properties close by which could be affected by a firework with a ‘wide spread’? The choice of fireworks to buy in the category 3 range here at Fireworks Den is vast. These include some of our rockets and single ignition batteries. The largest firework for sale here at Fireworks Den is the great Maximum Showtime.  This is a best seller every time – check out the video. Sit back and enjoy the show. Be warned, its impressive!

So you want EVEN BIGGER? Well this is where we move one stage further in realm of firework categories. Enter category 4…..

These are strictly for professional use only. Yes, that means they cannot be sold directly to members of the public. These are the ones you are likely to see over the River Thames on New Year’s Eve! They really do need to be used in safe hands – pyrotechnic experts in fact. If it helps, we do stock fireworks from the very same manufacturer who create the London New Year’s Eve displays – however it is their category 2 and 3 ranges only.

For those of you who like knowing about the biggest and best records related to fireworks – check this out.

If you want more information about firework categories, there is plenty of information here.

In the meantime however, please feel free to get in touch with us at Fireworks Den. Our firework experts are happy chaps who will be more than happy to help and advise you on suitable fireworks for you to purchase. We look forward to speaking with you soon! We are open 7 days a week all year round, and offer a delivery service within the M25.

 

 

Firework Safety

 

Firework safety is something we feel particularly passionate about here at Fireworks Den. When used responsibly, fireworks are great fun, and an impressive spectacle to watch. However if misused or not set up properly, the effects can be dangerous.

Below I have listed some of the main aspects of firework safety which must be adhered to in order for you and your fellow spectators to have a great firework party.

  • 1. Plan your firework display carefully – make sure you have enough space and there are no overhanging trees. All of your spectators should be standing too close. Each firework will have a specific distance specified on the box.
  • 2. Keep your fireworks in closed boxes until you use them, and use them one at a time. 
  • 3. Read each and every firework instruction on every box, using a torch to see in the dark if necessary.
  • 4. Light each firework at arms length using a portfire.
  • 5. Keep all naked flames away from the fireworks including cigarettes. 
  • 6. Never return to a firework once it is lit. If it appears not to light, it is tempting to have a closer look or to re-light it. Please do not do this. It could be a defective fuse, in which case the firework might ignite with a delayed reaction. This is one of the most important firework safety tips.
  • 7. Do not put fireworks in your pockets or throw them.
  • 8. If using rockets, direct them away from the spectators. This sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how often this can happen. Firework safety with rockets are of paramount importance. 
  • 9. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
  • 10. Make sure all fire is out before leaving your firework site. You can cover with sand or douse with water and then you can clear up the remains the following day in daylight hours. 

This is my no means an all encompassing list, but it does highlight some of the main features of firework safety. There are many useful websites which you can look at for more tips. Click here for more information.

 

Remember to buy your fireworks from us here or come into our showroom. 127-129 Abbey Road, London, NW6 4SL. Our firework experts are always on hand to offer any advice, so if you have any queries about firework safety or anything else firework related, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

We look forward to helping you soon.