Monthly Archives: June 2011

Honorary Membership of the BPA

The following have been elected honorary members of the BPA for their outstanding and long term contributions to the professional display industry.

Malcolm Armstrong – Theatrical Pyrotechnics

Ian Craig – Phoenix Fireworks

John Deeker – Pains Fireworks

Rev. Ron Lancaster – Kimbolton Fireworks

Application to join the BPA


The BPA is a membership organisation with criteria for membership that basically demonstrate that the company is a professional display company.

The BPA is not open to individual membership.

On joining the BPA, display companies must agree to recognize, endorse and promote the BPA Firework Firers training scheme as the only UK qualification meeting the requirement of the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2010.  To provide training for their operators via the BPA Fireworks Firers training scheme and to maintain this qualification throughout their membership

Please use BPA Application Form to apply for BPA membership.  Return the form to the Secretary with accompanying documents and your application will be considered.  Further evidence may be requested to ensure criteria has been met.


BPA Guide #3 – Environmental effects of display fireworks

The BPA is concerned that companies are increasing being asked to address the environmental effects of fireworks, and have prepared this brief guide to assist members.

Fireworks are explosives and function by self-sustaining exothermic chemical reactions involving primarily an oxidant and a fuel.  To this basic mix are added components to create colours or effects, or to assist in the manufacturing processes.  Many fireworks have a significant proportion of blackpowder (gunpowder) acting as a propellant.

The chemistry of combustion of fireworks in general is not very well documented, but the combustion chemistry of blackpowder is well known. Therefore the following conclusions can be drawn from studies carried out by consultants from sites, such as Theme parks where displays are fired all year round.

Gaseous products from fireworks combustion include Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen oxides, water vapour and nitrogen. In a typical firework display where we have approximately 250Kg of blackpowder is fired over 10 minutes, the rates of production of these gasses is approximately.

  • Carbon Dioxide – 68 g/s
  • Carbon Monoxide – 29 g/s
  • Sulphur Dioxide – 2 g/s
  • Nitrogen oxides – 7 g/s
  • Nitrogen – 22 g/s

Given that these are formed in a large volume of air and are subject to immediate dilution by wind the potential human health or environmental effects are very low.

By way of comparison these figures (for a 10 minute display) equate roughly to

  • 5000 person- kilometres of travel by bus
  • 5000 person- kilometres of travel by plane
  • 8000 person- kilometres of travel by car
  • 26000 person- kilometres of travel by high speed train

So, for instance, if 10,000 people come to specifically see the display and travelled by car or bus at some point in their journey, travelling an average of 50km round trip each, the atmospheric pollution caused by the display is approximately 1.5% of the pollution caused by people travelling to the display.


BPA Guide #2 – Working on firework displays

The BPA is concerned that companies are considering doing much more work on fireworks prior to shipping to the display site than in the past, and have prepared this brief guide to assist members.

If you are working on material prior to shipping to a display make sure:-

  • That you have adequate legal facilities for doing any work
  • That the resulting products are themselves classified (this may be a trivial process, or it can be extremely complicated – seek advice from HSE – if you rework fireworks the responsibility for compliance is yours)
  • That you have suitable legal packaging for the resulting items


BPA Guide #1 – Importing Fireworks

The BPA is concerned that the temptation to import fireworks direct is overshadowing the legal requirements of doing the importation, and have prepared this brief guide to assist members.

Before ordering (ie selection of manufacturing company):-

  • Check the factory can produce to the desired specification
    • Ensure that they understand the Standards that need to be applied
    • Ensure they are fully compliant with the requirements for packaging of explosives
    • Ensure they are fully conversant with the requirements for CE Marking (Note that for Cat 4 the requirements don’t fully come into force until 2017)
    • Ensure that no prohibited substances (eg HCB) will be used
    • Ensure that they can produce on time – and are not subcontracting work (unless you have agreed it) which may be of an inferior standard.
    • Ensure that they will indemnify you for any breaches of compliance when the goods arrive in the UK

Before the product is shipped:-

Have your products tested in China before shipment

  • Such testing should confirm performance data, CE compliance and chemistry – and should of course be documented
  • Check that they will not place unknown “samples” on to the consignment without declaring to you

Before it arrives in the UK:-

  • Check you have adequate storage to service the import or arrange for suitable storage (of capacity and Hazard Type)
  • If you are splitting a consignment with others ensure either that the haulier will do multiple drops (and that the consignment is organised in such a way to facilitate this) or that the primary destination can accommodate the extra capacity – even for a temporary period
  • Ensure that all items are classified before they arrive in the UK (which may have to be complete before they are shipped)

When it arrives with you:-

  • That it is unloaded in a safe manner
  • That it is placed into storage in a safe manner and in a way that means access is maintained

HCB in fireworks

Question 1.

When did the Industry become aware of the issue of Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in Fireworks?

Answer 1.

HCB was used extensively in fireworks for many years as chlorine donor to enhance colour; latterly being largely replaced in this function by other types of chlorine donors.  The first time, in recent years, the Industry became aware of the use of HCB, was in September 2008, following the discovery of this compound by HSL, as part of a routine testing of fireworks.

Question 2.

Is it well known issue amongst the Industry?

Answer 2.

Following the HCB ‘discovery’ in 2008, knowledge of the problem spread rapidly throughout the Firework Industry. Fortunately, most Companies found that their fireworks did NOT contain HCB. The passage of this knowledge then was extended by the EA  questionnaire at a later date. EIG presumes that all firework Importers were included on the distribution of this Questionnaire; accordingly we would expect that all such Companies in existence at that time, would have been well aware of the problem.  EIG also understands that the Explosives Inspectorate (ExI)regularly checks for the presence of HCB in their Classification of new fireworks.  The issues of HCB have also been widely aired at a European level.

Question 3.

What are the general thoughts about the issue throughout the Industry?

Answer 3.

The requirements and demands of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Regulations 2007, leave no scope for thought on the matter; in that Industry accepts that articles containing HCB, are simply not permitted to be supplied.  It should be noted however that the use of HCB in fireworks may not present the same environmental  threat as its use in other forms of device.  Fireworks typically burn at temperatures in excess of 1000 deg C in an oxygen rich environment; under which conditions we would expect HCB to be completely chemically reacted in the functioning of the firework.


EHO familairisation

Grafham Water Sailing Club

Perry, Huntingdon
PE28 0BU

Course Dates: Tuesday 18th May 2010

PLEASE NOTE:  THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE if you require any information contact Avril on 01480 878621

The BPA is an active trade body that represents the largest professional firework display Companies in the UK.  The BPA is committed to raising the already high standards of professional firework display firers, both through its normal membership activities and through the wider community through training and education.  To this end the BPA has instigated the premiere training program for professional firework firers in the UK known as the BPA Firers Scheme Level 1 & 2.

The Fireworks Familiarisation course is intended for individuals who wish to enhance their knowledge of fireworks in general – with particular emphasis on storage, transportation, and display (professional) use.  The material covered will be relevant to both TSOs and EHOs who have responsibility for inspection and enforcement.

There are a limited number of places, so please if you are interested book early.

Fee: £200 per person or £150 per person if booking for two.  Price includes a copy of the ‘Lecture Notes for BPA Fireworks Firers Course and Examination’, one per candidate.  All prices excludes VAT.

If you would like to attend the course or if you would like further information please email:


L1 Course pro-forma

Himley Cricket Club
Stourbridge Road

Course Dates: Level 1 BPA Firers Scheme 19/20th March 2011

Fee: Non members: £150 plus VAT
Members: £85 plus VAT
The BPA is committed to improving safety at professionally fired firework displays, both to operators of displays and to the public. The BPA have set up a Firer training scheme, which currently has over 1000 registered persons. The scheme, which will be developed and adapted to accommodate changing legislation and practices, is based on a sound knowledge of the hazards associated with:

  • Firework types
  • Firework effects
  • Fireworks in transport
  • Rigging techniques
  • Site design
  • Firing methods
  • Fallout considerations
  • Disposal

It is not a replacement for other statutory provisions (e.g. relating to training of drivers) but provides a sound basis for safe operation. In addition to the courses, each candidate is required to maintain a ‘log book’ of their display experience. This log book will prove invaluable in verifying that operators have the necessary practical experience, in a variety of display environments, to complement their formal training. The course is presently available at two levels:
Level 1 – for assistant operators at display sites with limited experience
Level 2 – for senior operators at display sites who have passed Level 1 and have extended their experience

The course is NOT suitable or available to:

  • Firers of solely Category 3 fireworks
  • Freelance firers who are not associated with a professional company
  • Stage or theatrical technicians.

If you would like to attend the course or if you would like further information please email:

Misuse of BPA Membership

The BPA wish to make clear that the following Firework Company is not a BPA member as claimed on their website.

Pyrotechnique Ltd trading as the Rocket Men


Drafts of new EU Standards for Category 4 Fireworks