Fireworks Displays: When Is Safe, Safe Enough?

K. L. and B. J. Kosanke

At a recent meeting of the National Fire Protection Association's Technical Committee on Pyrotechnics, there was a proposal to increase the site size requirement for public fireworks displays from the current 70 feet (21 m) to 100 feet (30.5 m) radius per the largest shell size in inches. It was the consensus of the committee that this was not needed because fireworks displays using the current distances were “safe enough”. However, no one was able to substantiate their opinion with data. As part of that discussion the authors offered their own unsubstantiated opinion that it was likely that people were at a significantly greater risk while on the round trip drive to witness a fireworks display, than from the fireworks in the display. After offering some background information, this article presents a calculation of the comparative risks of driving to and attending a fireworks display, estimating that people are at least 7 times more likely to be killed or injured as a result of driving to attend a public display than they are from the fireworks in the public display.

Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 140-141

© Journal of Pyrotechnics and CarnDu Ltd

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