A summary of the equipment you'll need to set up and fire your fireworks display.
Equipment and tools for setting up fireworks
Wooden stakes are easy to make. Simply saw timber into pieces long enough to support your fireworks. Putting a point on each stake makes life easier. Most fireworks set up on the ground will require one stake but some may need several (such as fan cakes or larger compound cakes).
Larger wooden posts
If you are using wheels or mounting set pieces you will need some larger posts.
Useful in case you want to change the length of a stake or saw one in half to make an extra one.
Plenty of it – to secure your fireworks to your stakes. Also known as duct or duck tape.
Using wheels? Check each wheel comes with a nail before getting on site. Take some spares too in case you bend them during set up.
Lump and sledgehammers
Lump hammers (also known as club hammers) help make light work of banging in your wooden stakes. A sledgehammer is also useful for dealing with bigger posts and any complaints about the noise (joke!).
Useful in certain cases when setting items up and as a back up in case you run out of tape.
Very handy for ensuring your cakes sit on a level surface and for protecting them from wet grass or the moisture in the soil. It’s best to have a separate board for each firework.
Labels and marker pens
Are you noting each firework with a number from a running order? If you haven’t done this in advance of setting up then don’t forget your labels and a marker pen.
Bin liners or clingfilm
How are you waterproofing your fireworks if you are doing this on site? If using bags take plenty – at least two for each firework. If you are using clingfilm then take several rolls.
Firing electrically? You’ll need to keep your firing system or modules dry. Many firers use plastic boxes or Peli cases.
Useful for opening firework boxes and cutting gaffa tape amongst other things.
For helping to unpack any items encased in pyromesh.
The quickest way to cut cable ties if you are using them.
Many firework crew carry a multitool (which combines a knife with pliers etc.).
First aid kit
It’s not unusual to have minor injuries during setting up from hammering, splinters etc. so take a first aid kit.
Sun block cream / hat
I’ve been caught out a surprising number of times by sunburn from several hours of setting up in the sun, hence the inclusion of this on the list.
Something to kneel on
You could be on your knees a lot when setting up fireworks. A comfy pad such as used in gardening is useful here.
Equipment for firing
Torches and spare batteries
Every firer should have a torch. It’s useful to take some spare batteries too and even better to have a few spare torches in case of problems. Head torches can be very useful for firework displays since they leave both hands free.
I recommend a good supply of portfires even if you’re using an alternative lighting method. Using gas torches? What if they run out of gas, break, or get clogged up with soot? Using an electric ignition system? What if it doesn’t work or the batteries fail? You get the point. Allow enough portfires for each firer with enough running time for your display and some to spare.
Something to light the portfires or blow torch
Remember to take something to light the portfires with – a good quality windproof lighter is recommended. Most blow torches if you are using these are piezo ignition and will light themselves.
Firing system and spare batteries
If you are using a firing system remember to take the igniters and any spare items you may need such as batteries.
It is down to personal preference whether you have a hard hat and googles or an all-in-one helmet and visor, whether you wear good boots or proper industrial protective footwear and so on, but whatever you wear always check it’s all packed before you set off.
Remember to take your firing list if this has been worked out beforehand. Clipboards are also useful and will make you feel more important ;).
Fire extinguishers or similar
For larger displays it is worth taking fire extinguishers or something similar such as buckets of water or sand.