Behind the scenes at a professional firework display
Our rubber boxes are frequently in demand around this time of year for modern firework displays, many of which tend not to rely on simple fuses anymore. Instead, large-scale firework displays increasingly involve huge power distribution networks and electrical remote triggers, meaning that power distribution boxes like ours often play an essential role in the show.
1. The big planning stage
Fireworks are fantastic fun, but at the end of the day they’re still explosives, after all. That means the planning stages can take quite a while to make sure everything’s safe, even for relatively small displays. The first item on the agenda for organisers will be to discuss budgets, styles and timings, and if there are any special requirements. Then, they’ll have a look at the venue. There’s always a detailed site survey involved, which covers its current conditions and any individual safety considerations, such as overhead power lines.
Once the site has been assessed, the layout will be organised. At the bare minimum, this means making sure that the crowd will be at a safe distance from falling fireworks, or any that initially fail to go off. This is when the power network will be set out, if the display is being managed electronically, so here’s when organisers will source both their fireworks and electrical distribution equipment (such as our rubber boxes).
There are also less obvious things to sort out with the layout. For example, if there’s a bar, it will always need to be situated well away from the firing area. Alcohol is an accelerant, so it can be incredibly dangerous near even unlit fireworks. This is also the stage where organisers will work out emergency plans, and liaise with the relevant emergency services and local authorities.
2. Laying out the schedule for the show
Many professional fireworks companies will have specially appointed display directors, who will devise the show. As you’ll know if you’ve ever been to a fireworks show, the opening and closing sequences are usually the biggest showpieces, linked together with specialty feature elements. They’re also often set to music – either one song or a series of them – so this is when this sequence will get planned out. (Personally, we’re huge Queen fans here at Rubber Box.) If it’s a series of songs, the music will be compiled and edited together, before being burned to several CDs (including the spares), ready for the big night.
3. The fireworks are queued up…
Depending on how big the display in question is, the setup may be planned in for the same day, or even several days beforehand. Once the staff arrive on site, they’ll start unloading the hardware, tools and pyrotechnics, such as mortar tubes and similar equipment. The positions of all the fireworks will be carefully matched to the display layout, which will have been finalised back in the initial planning stages.
Next, the fireworks are fused together into their correct sequences. Now, some organisers choose to keep their displays relatively low-tech with things like delays or slower fuses, but in the majority of cases nowadays only the smaller displays are fired by hand. Larger displays tend to require pyrotechnic ignition at a very precise point in each fuse run. The remote firing for this is easiest to control through computers and modern power distribution systems, making it the preference for most organisers.
Now, the ignition is connected to the firing box, often through hubs or distribution points such as our own rubber boxes. Then, the fireworks are fixed to their framework or loaded into the mortar tubes. It’s almost time!
4. …And the final tests are carried out
Almost all large firework displays are subject to pre-show testing before the crowds arrive. Obviously, you only get one shot with fireworks – you can’t un-explode them – so organisers are very careful in how they go about it. A tiny electric current is sent through the power distros through to each ignition point. It’s just enough to let organisers know whether the connection is being made, but not quite sufficient to fire it. Once the final preparations are carried out, the show is ready to begin!
Here at Rubber Box, our products have several useful qualities that make them invaluable for organisers of fireworks displays. One of these key advantages is to do with their scalability. This means that however big or small you want your display to be, you can count on our power distros to seamlessly fit into your circuit. You can browse our huge range of power distro boxes here, or give our team a quick call on 01282 677 910 if you have any questions. We’re here to help!