Pyrotechnics & Fireworks
NOTE: If Pyrotechnics come within the full scope of the Explosives Regulations then specific authorisation must be sought following Certification and approval by the licensing authority.
Definitions: Pyrotechnic(s) means any article containing explosive substances or an explosive mixture of substances designed to produce heat, light, sound, gas or smoke or a combination of such effects through self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions. Pyrotechnic Substance means an explosive substance of a kind designed to produce an effect by heat, light, sound, gas or smoke, or a combination of any of these, as a result of non-detonative, self-sustaining, exothermic chemical reactions.
Many shows and events can be enhanced through the use of pyrotechnics (sometimes called indoor fireworks), providing a wow factor at the right moment or that powerful sound of gunshots during a stage drama. Pyrotechnic stage displays are primarily used to enhance a particular scene or song, or to draw the audience’s attention to or from a part of the stage set.
At the University, the use of pyrotechnics (which are within the exemptions of the Explosives Regulations) needs to be approved by the Health and Safety team at Governance & Compliance and will only be considered once the paperwork has been received. Normally, the only exceptions to this rule are Pontio managed Productions and Events, where approval is provided by the Pontio Technical Director.
Pyrotechnics used for 'education' purposes (teaching & demonstrations) <0.5grams may be exempt from licensing. Please seek further advice from HSS.
One of the most common problems with the use of pyrotechnics is the lack of pre-planning. Pyrotechnics are often required but decisions are made very late with the result of trying to incorporate them into a show after everything else, eg the late siting of pyrotechnics on stage roofs or too close to the cast or audience. With early planning many of the problems can be overcome and unnecessary risks eliminated.
Remember, pyrotechnics often cause smoke to be emitted and will therefore require adjustments to the fire alarm system. The Property & Campus Services Department need plenty of time to arrange this and in some cases you may need to adjust your display due to the impact on building alarm systems. Please contact Property & Campus Services in plenty of time.
If you are planning to use pyrotechnics during your event please forward your risk assessment and details of qualifications and experience of the person managing the pyrotechnics (pyrotechnician); don't forget to consider the noise levels and its impact on the audience and cast.
The HSE publication "Managing Events" offers good advice on use of both indoor and outdoor pyrotechnics.
If your University managed production is held outdoors (i.e. a production held in the open-air where the pyrotechnics are used to enhance the experience) please follow the same protocols, listed above.
Firework displays are generally intended as entertainment in their own right. It is anticipated that only licensed fireworks display personnel will provide a fireworks event on University grounds, or on its behalf. If you are thinking of arranging a fireworks event please firstly seek approval from Property & Campus Services and then discuss what's needed with HSS.