How to Select a Display Company

With several similar proposals in front of you, how do you choose the one company that will shoot your display? When you receive proposals from display companies, look at these items.

Site visits In order to plan a safe display best suited to your location, a company should visit your site before the show to view the lay of the land and measure distances between the show set-up area and the crowd line.

Insurance coverage The company should offer liability insurance that covers both the company and the sponsor as an additionally named insured.

Training and certification of display operators Ask if the crew members who will shoot your show have undergone any formal training in the proper handling of display fireworks. The Pyrotechnics Guild International offers a nationally-recognized display operator training course. “PGI Certified” display operators are experienced in all phases of professional display production and pyrotechnic safety. In addition, the crew members who will transport your fireworks should hold a commercial driver’s license with a hazardous materials endorsement.

Proper transportation of your fireworks display All reputable fireworks companies comply with Department of Transportation rules. However, some smaller companies have been known to try to get away with not complying with DOT requirements, and are driving your display on public roads without insurance or the warning diamonds (placards) that keep emergency personnel safe in the event of a traffic accident. Trying to sneak around puts both you and your display at great risk, and makes one wonder what other safety rules they are disregarding. All reputable operators will comply with the transportation regulations by displaying their company name, USDOT number and orange warning diamonds (placards) on the truck that carries the fireworks.

The Company has made a Commitment to following the safety guidelines outlined by state and federal codes. These codes set the standard for display fireworks safety. Companies that adhere to these codes and guidelines are following high standards for ensuring the safety of you and your audience. At Munnerlyn Pyrotechnics we adhere to federal and state specific codes and guidelines closely.

Comparing Proposals Types of devices Aerial shells (devices that explode in the air) are what most people associate with fireworks displays. Other devices include mines, comets, and Roman candles. Aerial shells may be individual items, ranging in size from 2 to 24 inches and loaded into separate firing mortars. Aerial devices may also be together in a “multi-shot cake,” a collection of cardboard tubes pre-loaded with shells and lit with a single fuse.

Method of firing Fireworks devices may be hand fired with flares by display operators, electrically fired with special wiring systems, or a combination of the two. Hand-firing is less expensive than electric firing and requires less set-up time. Electric firing offers more safety for the display operators. Computer choreographed displays require electric firing.

Shell count Each proposal may include the total number of pyrotechnic devices to be used in the show. This is commonly referred to as a shell count. Be aware that a large quantity of shells does not guarantee a quality show. A proposal with a high shell count may contain many mediocre effects or poor quality construction. A company emphasizing their high shell count is not likely to be providing high quality shells. For the same price, you could get fewer but far more beautiful shells–which translate into more “ooo”s and “aahh”s from your audience.

How much does an average show cost?

Because every show has different specifications, we do not put a price on “an average show”. We customize every show to fit each venues individual needs. Small shows can start at $2,000 and larger shows could exceed $30,000. The deciding factors in determining the cost of your show will be the size, quality and type of shells being used. As well as, the length of the show, electronic or hand firing, music and/or choreography.

How long is the average show?

15-20 minutes is the typical length of an average show. The key factors involved in the show length are your budget, or more specifically, how many firework shells/effects you are purchasing and the amount of time in between each. We will always recommend a shorter show duration time that has a steady firing of shells and effects over trying to extend the time by dragging out the show with lots of “black space” in between. We believe that the overall WOW factor of an expertly designed display is more important than how long it lasts.

How far in advanced should we start planning for a show?

The more time that we have the better your display will be. Some of our largest displays have given us up to two years of planning time, which allowed us to custom order and custom build fireworks to make a display that is incredibly unique and unforgettably spectacular. However, we have been able to provide displays with as little as 10 days notice, however, this can only happen if the authorities that issue permits are willing to issue permits with a lot less than the desired amount of notice. Typically completing the contract 3 or more months before the display date is desirable.

What do you need to know about the shooting location?

Fireworks can be safely fired from many locations, such as open fields, building tops, parking lots, bodies of water, etc. Although some locations are better than others, all locations need an area that can be secured to shoot the fireworks from, as well as an area for the audience. The basic rules include a minimum distance from the fireworks to the spectators, with smaller fireworks requiring less distance, and larger fireworks requiring more distance. Please contact us so that we can have one of our certified operators help you to select and evaluate your site.

Will there be an inspection of the launch site?

Yes. In order to plan a safe display best suited to your location, Munnerlyn Pyrotechnics will visit your site before the show to view the lay of the land and measure distances between the show set-up area and the crowd line.

What about permits?

Munnerlyn Pyrotechnics will take care of getting all the permits needed for your show.

What kind of insurance is needed?

Munnerlyn Pyrotechnics has liability insurance that covers both the company and the sponsor as an additionally named insured.

I want a fireworks display for an upcoming event. What's my first step?

It’s easy. Contact us to get in touch with a show producer in your region to go over this with you. It is best to do this at least four weeks before your event. After we collect all of your information on the site plan, we’ll promptly send you a clear, detailed proposal, including a cost estimate. After we’ve had a chance to review it, one of our client service associates will follow up by phone or email to help you plan a successful fireworks display. Or, you can contact us with any questions about your event.

How much space do I need for a fireworks display?

We can present safe, exciting fireworks displays in surprisingly small spaces even indoor locations. Munnerlyn Pyrotechnics experts will custom-design your fireworks show to fit such factors as budget, audience size, location, terrain, water features, traffic, and nearby structures.

What's your lead time?

While we have a reputation for flexibility and quick response, we can make the most of your budget and offer you the widest range of options if you contact us at least four weeks before the day of the show. Summer is the busy season for fireworks, so talk to us as early as possible for events like Independence Day celebrations.

How do I become a qualified pyrotechnician?

We offer training, free of charge, to individuals interested in becoming certified pyrotechnicans. Our courses are also offered to fire department personnel and other professionals who would like to become more involved in the setup and display of fireworks. Our one-day seminars cover the basic knowledge and skills needed to shoot fireworks safely and effectively.

Will I need a permit?

Most local governments require fireworks display permits. Drawing on our long experience and our good relationships with fire marshals and other authorities we provide permit filing service for our clients or will help guide you through the process.

Music Production?

If you wish to have a choreographed or simply a music-enhanced display, the Munnerlyn Pyrotechnics will work with you to create a superb soundtrack. We use highly trained professionals to create studio-quality audio soundtracks and will provide copies for your audio technicians. Please allow ample time before the display for music production.

Site Visits and Meetings?

The best way to design a fireworks display is to experience the venue in person. Munnerlyn Pyrotechnics strive to thoroughly review proposed display sites to determine the safety distances required, the types of fireworks and pyrotechnics that can be used, and to help design the overall “look” of the display. In addition, we can get a true sense of your needs for your specific event.

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