Pyrotechnic Rules for safety
from Star Light and Magic
Part One : Safety - General safety guidelines
Part Two: Product Explanation - A more detailed look at some of our products
Part Three: Pyro Purchase Agreement
This is intended as a partial list of practical safety and use guidelines for handlers of pyrotechnics. This is not a complete list, but is intended as a general guideline and should be followed to the letter!
All users of pyrotechnics should check with local and federal laws before undertaking projects of this nature. Frequent users are encouraged to purchase a user permit, available from the BATF for a $200 fee.
Our products are intended for use by licensed professionals working in stage and theater. These products are not available to people under 21.
We supply pods and pre-fabricated cartridges for people who prefer not to mix their own chemicals. Our cartridges provide more superior effect and control then are possible with chemicals alone, and are much easier to use. Fire Departments are much more likely to "ok" a project if they see professional cartridges and controllers in use, and licensing is not typically required to use these.
Part one: Safety
No smoking around pyro devices. It is also your job to make sure that others do not wander into the staging area with cigarettes. "No Smoking" signs are a great investment.
Watch out for static! Loading flashpots on a carpet can cause accidental ignition of flash pots.
Safe Distance Make sure that members of the general public get no closer than 15 feet to your pyrotechnical device. Make sure there are no flammable objects within 25 feet of device. Ceiling height must be adequate for pyro use. This is not negotiable, and is part of the written fire code.
Read the instructions carefully at least twice! If you have trouble following instructions to the letter, then you should not be involved with pyrotechnics in any way. One small mistake or misread line can lead to disaster. Pyro is very safe in the hands of the careful user.
Keep two water filled fire extinguishers available in close proximity to your pyrotechnics at all times.
Keep a water bottle handy in the event of a hot spark.
Let cool before touching. Never refill a warm pot. Make sure that your flashpot has cooled down before reloading to prevent accidental ignition. Do not touch any pyro device until it has cooled down.
Keep away from flammables. Fallout from flashpots can ignite other nearby objects. If you can not position the flash pot at a safe distance from these flammables (at least 25 feet), then you must either treat the flammables with a flame retardant or discontinue the show. Use common sense when making this decision.
Protect yourself. Wear disposable plastic gloves, goggles and a breathing mask when handling chemicals. Some chemicals can be unhealthy if inhaled. Wear fire resistant gloves when handling pyro immediately after show.
Do not pour chemicals directly from the bottle into the flash pot. Instead, take a plastic spoon and transport needed chemicals to the pot. This way, if there is an accidental ignition you will reduce the chances of hurting yourself.
Never use glass or metal utensils or storage devices. Make sure all spoons are made of plastic, and all chemical storage containers are either plastic or cardboard. This reduces the chance of damaging shrapnel in case of accidental detonation. When transporting, packing sensitive items in a box of sand is good insurance.
Never build your own flash pot. This is a sure way to put a quick end to your pyro career, and one of the most common mistakes made. Chemicals wedged between pieces of metal or in invisible cracks have no place to go and result in flying metal shrapnel. Our flashpots may look simple, but are built to exacting specifications.
Always test your device in an open field first. Use the exact pyrotechnical setup and measurements of chemicals that you intend to use on stage. Never try something on stage for the first time.
Get licensed. Frequent users of theatrical pyrotechnics should contact the BATF for a type 19 license. It costs $200, and is usually simple to acquire. This is a "Manufacturer of Binary Explosives" license which will allow you to mix the flash powders that we sell. This will help convince any interested parties that you are serious about safe pyro use. To prepare for any questions you may have concerning pyrotechnics and the fire code, you may want to purchase the 18 page booklet entitled: "NFPA 1126 Pyrotechnics before a proximate audience". It is available from us for around $30.
Always be prepared to discontinue your show. Do you see something that makes you uncomfortable? Is the crowd getting too close to the stage? Keep your flashpots in your line-of-sight before, during and after discharging, and be prepared to abort the performance at the last minute. Position your qualified personel so that they can get to the pyrotechnic devices quickly with a fire extingisher.
Safe disposal of pyrotechnics. The safest way to dispose of pyrotechnics is to go ahead and use it, of course. If you have some left over from a show that needs to be disposed of, you can set it off in a field somewhere. If that is not an option, then you can soak it in a bucket of water overnight, then dispose of it in small quantities in the garbage.
Safety - It's your call!
Part Two: Product Explanations
If you are truly interested in developing a professional show that will have the same, high quality pyrotechnical effects show after show, with minimal opportunity for misfire or mishap, then you should use a professional pyro system utilizing the professional cartridges that we offer listed under "Professional Pyrotechnical Systems". Our firing system has a world-wide reputation for safety and dependability that will be appreciated by event promoters and insurance companies alike!
Flash pods are an integral part of our professional line. Cartridges simply plug into pods and are ready to fire. After firing used cartridge can be unplugged and disposed of and immediately replaced with new cartridge.
Our flashpots are activated by being plugged into a standard wall outlet. An ignitor is attached to two terminals on the flashpot and throws a spark into the flash pot when it is activated. This spark ignites the chemicals within the flashpot, creating a column of fire, sparks, smoke or other interesting effects. An ignitor can only be used once per shot. We offer a foot pedal for triggering your flashpot, it only takes a momentary surge of power to activate the flashpot. Each flashpot comes with one ignitor installed so that you can see the proper procedure. Care should be taken that the ignitor does not come into contact with the edge of the flashpot to prevent tripping the circuit when it is activated. We also supply "Electric Matches" for people who wish to trigger their flash pot with a 9V battery source. This makes the system more portable and separates it from the electrical system.
Electric Sparkle is one of our most popular additives. It creates an exciting array of bright sparkles. Electric Sparkle needs to be evenly mixed with the ignition source, whether it be flash paper or smokeless powder. Electric Sparkle by itself is not very flammable, therefore it must be evenly mixed or spread over a combustible powder or paper. If it is not distributed evenly, it will not thoroughly burn. It takes just a small amount to generate a desired effect, about 1/8" of a teaspoon in a flashpot.
Sonic Boom Powder:
This is a great effect for creating a thunderous booming sound. This is shipped as a two bottle effect that must be mixed together before using. This is because it is highly volatile in mixed form. It takes just a small quantity of this powder to create the desired effect - about 1/4" teaspoon. One 2 oz. jar is enough for at least 15 shots. The entire contents should be used on site unless an approved magazine is available for storage. This powder should never be mixed with any other powder - it is too unstable and can spontaneously combust. This powder should only be used in our "Color Volcano". Our smaller flash pots are not strong enough for this effect to be safely used.
This is one of our most popular hand held effects, and is capable of shooting a fireball up to 20 feet. It operates on a 'AA' battery and the entire unit is easily carried and concealed in the hand. It comes with a built in grip that is skin toned in color and allows the unit to be snugly held between two fingers. Activating it is as simple as depressing the button with your thumb. To load our flash gun, you must take a small pinch of flash cotton, push it gently to the end of the barrel with a pencil, followed by one or two wadded up pieces of flash paper. Complete instructions are included with your unit. Flash powder must never be used in these units. After firing, the flash paper will usually be completely consumed by the time it reaches the floor, leaving no residue or ash behind.
Glo Plugs are used to produce an ignition in the smaller, hand-held effects. The Glo Plug is a miniature element that produces enough heat to ignite flash cotton, which in turn ignites flash paper. The Glo Plug will glow bright red when energized. Glo Plugs last about 20 to 30 firings before replacement is needed. There are 2 types of Glo Plugs, 1.5 Volt and 3 Volt. The 1.5 Volt is used for all single battery devices and the 3 volt is used for all double battery devices. The Glo Plug eventually deteriorates after a number of firings, but is easy to replace. Remove the battery, then turn the Glo Plug counter-clockwise with a pair of pliers. Replacement Glo Plugs are available from StarLight.com.
Wizard of Oz:
Broom Effect: Typically, people will make a "stunt" broom, whereby the bristles will be made from metal rods or wires painted yellow, and then flash paper placed on the end of the broom (no chance of fire, since it is metal). The flash paper can be ignited with a 9V battery and an electric match (on the same page as the flash paper).
Witch Shooting flame ball that results in explosion: Using a flash gun, can shoot a ball of fire, then ignite a flash pot in the approximate location where the fireball would land. Alternatively, for a larger, more professional production, an ignited gerb can be thrown toward the flash pot area.
Part Three: Pyro Purchase Agreement
You must sign the Pyro Supplies Agreement to purchase flammable materials.
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Pyrotechnic Purchase Agreement:
The following must be initialed and signed in order to receive flammable products. All information is kept confidential. This form protects you, the end user, by keeping pyrotechnics out of the hands of people who may do something inappropriate, thereby giving pyrotechnics a bad name and making it more difficult to purchase for future generations. Thank you for your patience and understanding : )
A clear, enlarged photocopy of your drivers license must also be supplied. Agreement must be mailed and received by us before order can processed.
The undersigned hereby acknowledges:
1. That he/she is 21 years of age or older. Initial:______________
2. The chemicals and/or supplies purchased have hazardous properties that may endanger life and limb. Initial:______________
3. That he/she is legally qualified to recieve these materials. Initial:______________
4. That he/she will consult local laws and inform local fire department before using in public. Initial:______________
5. That he/she will not sell or give any items to a third party. Initial:______________
6. That he/she will not send any items out of the country. Initial:______________
7. That he/she will use these items for theatrical purposes only in the state where he/she resides. Initial:______________
8. That he/she is the end user of this product. Initial:______________
9. Pyrotechnics, once purchased, can not be returned for any reason. Initial:______________
In consideration of the sale of chemicals and/or supplies to the undersigned, the undersigned hereby agrees as follows:
1. The undersigned will not use the chemicals and/or supplies in violation of any local, state or federal law. Initial:______________
2. In no event shall the seller, or seller's heirs and assigns, be liable for consequential damages, nor shall seller's liability on any claim for damages arising out of or connected with the sale, delivery or use of the chemicals and/or supplies exceed the purchase price of the chemicals and/or supplies. Initial:______________
3. There is no warranty that the chemicals and/or supplies are merchantable or that they are fit for a particular use. Initial:______________
4. The undersigned, on behalf of the undersigned, successors and assigns, agrees to hold the seller harmless from and will indemnify seller from damages caused by the use of the chemicals and/or supplies. Initial:______________
5. The undersigned agrees that the conditions above apply equally to all current, past and future purchases from Star Light and Magic:
Date of Birth _______________________
Printed Name ______________________________________________
Today's Date ____________________
I am using this for ____________________________________________________(example: Theater, Concert etc.).
Please include an enlarged, clear photocopy of your driver's license.
You must send a copy by mail for our permanent files. All items Must be clearly legible, or we cannot process your order. This form cannot be faxed, however you may send it by overnight express if you are in a hurry.
If these items are being shipped to a third party, we must have an agreement from them as well. Please double-check, all areas must be completely accurate and signed, or agreement is null and void. Pyrotechnics are non-returnable.
Please include an enlarged, clear, color photocopy of your driver's license. You must send a copy by mail for our permanent files. All items Must be clearly legible, or we cannot process your order. This form cannot be faxed, however you may send it by overnight express if you are in a hurry.
218 Jefferson St.
Lexington, Ky. 40508
Questions? Email us at email@example.com