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Event Planning: Firework Displays

Firework Displays, Pyrotechnique and Special Effects

Fireworks and pyrotechnics will need specialist advice. You can get this advice from the Fire Service, DDC Regulatory Services Department and East Kent Trading Standards.

DDC's Firework Advice »

If the display is going to take place on DDC land it must be conducted by a professional Firework Display Company who are Members of the British Pyrotechnics Association (BPA). Firework companies will expect to give you a detailed risk assessment and present their public liability to the value of at least £5 million – usually £10 million.

The footprint of the display must include an appropriate firing, drop and safety zone of sufficient size for the category of fireworks used and in accordance with current codes of practice.  These zones need to be fenced off and marshalled in accordance with current guidance and at all vulnerable points to make sure the public stay safe.

Organising Firework displays » (HSE website) 

Organisers must be clear with firework operators where their responsibility starts and finishes.  Many operators will provide plans of the different zones, but only manage the firing zone and not management of the safety and dropout zones. Please note that overall responsibility for the entire event rests with the event organiser.

The weather can have a huge impact on the safety of a firework display and you should get advice from the operator (whose risk assessment should cover this element) as well as from the Fire Service about this possibility.

Should you wish to either store or sell fireworks you may require a licence from East Kent Trading Standards.

All firework displays must meet defined criteria by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Special Effects and Pyrotechnics

If your event is to take place in a public open space, on the Highway, or council amenity site, please inform the Events Safety Advisory Group (ESAG) if you are planning to provide any of the following special effects:

  • Fog and vapour effects
  • Strobe lights
  • Lasers
  • High-power (scenic) projectors
  • Ultraviolet light
  • Fire & Fireworks
  • Theatrical and stage pyrotechnics
  • Cannons and Maroons

Events with the above should employ competent persons working to industry standards and subject to specialist risk assessments, see 'Organising Firework Displays' (HSE website).