Organising Your Display
Early preparation is important, you should nominate one person to be in charge of the fireworks and lighting. If you are having a larger display then you should set up a committee and assign the various jobs to individuals well in advance.
Make sure your firing site can accommodate the type of fireworks you want to fire, you will need more space than you think.
Make sure that you read the instructions on ALL your fireworks, different fireworks behave differently and need to be set up and secured in various ways. In recent years newer 'fan style' cakes have been introduced and you should take extra care to ensure that the correct side of the firework is facing the audience. Cakes / barrages, candles, mines and fountains should all be buried in soft earth, or alternatively you can attach them to wooden stakes buried into the ground, when doing this make sure that the stake is nearest the audience and attach the firework with strong cloth tape (gaffa tape, not sellotape) or thick cable ties. By making sure the firework is behind the stake, you minimise the risk of the firework falling over and facing the crowd. For large cakes use a couple of stakes. Remember to angle your fireworks whether buried or staked away from the audience. If it's raining you can use plastic bags or bin liners to keep your fireworks dry.
Fountains sometimes come in the shape of a cone, making it hard to attach them to something. If you have this type of fountain place it on a board or flat surface such as paving slab, just placing it on earth or grass will make the firework unstable and increase the risk of it falling over.
Rockets should only be launched from suitable tubes, if you require more you can make your own from plumbing pipe, but always ensure that the stick of the rocket can rise freely from the pipe, if it gets stuck in the pipe the rocket will explode at ground level.
People think that the stick is just there to support the rocket before lift off, but its an important part of the firework ensuring that the head of the rocket stays stable on its upward flight, so if you have a rocket with a broken stick, don't be tempted to fire it, it wont work properly. Remember, rockets always travel into the wind so you should take this into account when setting up your display, you should also angle your rockets away from the audience and ensure there is no overhead obstruction such as trees or power lines etc.
If you are having a bonfire they should be a safe distance down wind of the firework area and must be supervised at all times. Never use inflammables such as petrol or paraffin to start the fire and under no circumstances dispose of used or unused fireworks on the bonfire.
On The Night
Always wear protective clothing, goggles, hat and gloves are a must, for extra protection you might want to invest in probhan (fire retardant) overalls, these can be obtained from many outlets for as little as £20. If you are lighting your fireworks one at a time, keep your fireworks in a closed, fireproof metal container and take them out as you need them, NEVER PUT FIREWORKS IN YOUR POCKETS, leaving them in the open could mean sparks from lit fireworks igniting them. You should make sure that no one can wander into the safety area, use rope or another type of barrier if you have to. Designate someone as a marshall if you haven't already to keep an eye on your audience. Make sure you have a torch to read the instructions on the firework. NEVER READ INSTRUCTIONS WITH A NAKED FLAME! Fire extinguishers, buckets of sand or water should be available. When lighting your fireworks only use a portfire or other safety lighter attached to a stick to distance you from the firework, you should never use lighters or matches, always light the firework at arms length. Once lit, retire to a safe distance, NEVER RETURN TO A LIT FIREWORK, EVEN IF YOU THINK IT'S NOT LIT.