Remember, remember the fifth of November – not long now until Bonfire Night! And while Guy Fawkes and his plotters were discovered before their barrels of gunpowder could go off underneath the Houses of Parliament, the country is gearing up for a night of bangs, crashes and whooshes which they would have been proud of.
In the build-up to the big night, it is always worthwhile checking the regulations for the transportation of fireworks, particularly if you are planning to move larger quantities around for customers or your own displays. How many of us have been guilty in the past of offering to transport fireworks for a friend in our working vehicles? Your load consignment can be anything from sparklers to full pyrotechnics, which have different requirements when transported. They are explosives, after all, which can cause significant damage to property and people, so need to be treated with respect.
Whatever quantities of fireworks you are transporting, make sure you obtain specialist advice before you do so – any product with an explosive charge must be treated with respect. And whatever their size, there are a few basic rules to remember:
Store them in a cool dry place before moving them and stack them carefully when inside the vehicle – do not leave room for them to slide about or crash into other boxes.
Do not pack fireworks with other items: leave them in their original packaging, as that is optimised for their transportation.
Make sure the interior of your vehicle is well ventilated, so that fireworks stay dry inside. Condensation and moisture can ruin a celebration night if your firework becomes nothing more than a damp squib!
As with any cargo, fireworks must be loaded securely, and not left to slide around on the floor of the van, or, even worse, to fall from racking. Remember what you are carrying when driving around: no sudden movements, overly-sharp braking or surging acceleration, all of which could dislodge your cargo and cause a potential incident. Taking the time to drive smoothly and carefully will have another benefit too – namely, better fuel economy and less wear and tear on the vehicle.
And, of course do not leave them close to a heat source – or smoke near them! It may seem daft to point this out but sometimes the basics are the things we forget!
It's also worth remembering that fireworks are now a year-round fixture at parties, weddings and other celebrations like New Year's Eve, so you may be called to move them at other times in the year. If it is going to be a regular occurrence, it would be worthwhile obtaining specialist training on how to do so, and the regulations involved: gentle plug here for FTA’s associate organisation, Training Team, which provides such training – to find out more visit www.trainingteam.co.uk
Treat fireworks that you are moving for work with the same levels of respect as those you let off in your own garden – take care, and that will ensure you can enjoy every bang, whistle and flash without worrying about the safety of your vehicle!