Forest Fireworks are based in Stratford Upon Avon in the Forest of Arden
and the birthplace of Shakespeare the playwright.
The nearby National Trust property Coughton Court
is associated with Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot
Forest Fireworks has been planning, preparing and firing displays of all sizes safely
and successfully for over twenty five years.
We have used Kimbolton, Brothers, Black cat and Standard Fireworks
as our source of supply.
We have provided thousands of people, groups and organisations with
spectacular displays for many different occasions.
We also stock retails fireworks and are open all year round.
We also deliver to the door free in the Stratford upon Avon area.
There is a small charge for further distances.
Our displays have ranged from community celebrations,
weddings private functions to corporate product launches,
large-scale public events and festivals with live artists.
Stratford upon Avon River Festival.
Some of the effects have been captured and posted
on youtube by members of the public.
Forest Fireworks sell quality fireworks to the general public.
Event Management UK - Event Management and other related links
When shopping for fireworks or displays you’ll come across a number of terms used to describe their classification. This article explains all!
Category 2, 3 and 4 Firework Classifications
Category 2 and Category 3 fireworks are those available from your fireworks retailer and which are on sale to the general public. A consumer firework will fall into one of those two categories depending on how much of a safety distance it requires.
Typical consumer fireworks warning labels from a Category 3 display firework (left) and a Category 2 garden firework (right)
Category 2 items which are also known as garden fireworks require the smallest distance which is 5 metres if the firework is classified to British Standards. However you may see an increasing number of fireworks in the coming years which are classified to new EU/EN standards and the safety distance in that case is 8 metres.
One of the newer EN labels. Photo courtesy Fireworks Crazy.
Category 3 items which are also known as display fireworksrequire the
greatest distance which is 25 metres for fireworks classified to British Standards.
Again, it is likely in coming years you will see a number of fireworks classified to
the new EU/EN standards and although the firework will still be Category 3 it may
have a different safety distance on the label, for example 15 metres.
A firework usually gets its category as a result of its gunpowder content, weight,
size and how far it ejects debris. All fireworks on sale to the public have to be
extensively tested and classified as either Category 2 or 3. These classifications
also impose a noise limit and ensure the firework has a safety fuse and clear
instructions on the label.
In coming years you will start to see fireworks which carry theCE marking.
This is because new legislation came into force in 2010 for all new fireworks
imported after that date. However, fireworks imported already are exempt from
the new laws and can be sold until 2017. So, don’t be surprised if your fireworks
have a mix of old and new labels.
Category 4 fireworks are for professional use only. These can include aerial
shells and other items banned for sale to the public. Many category 4 fireworks
are supplied without a fuse and are extremely dangerous to the untrained.
In case you are wondering, Category 1 refers to fireworks which pose a minimal
hazard and this classification is usually given to indoor fireworks.
1.3G, 1.4G, HT3 and HT 4 Firework Classifications
Now this is where it starts to get more complex! For the purposes of transport and
packaging, all fireworks are given a UN classification number, depending on their
potential hazard. For consumer fireworks this will be 1.3G or 1.4G and that will be
shown on the side of the firework’s original box as an orange diamond with the UN number inside
Example of fireworks boxes with 1.4G hazard labels
For the purposes of storage, legislation called MSER
determines the amount of fireworks which can be stored
together and under what conditions. MSER defines fireworks
as a Hazard Type depending on the hazard they pose.
Consumer fireworks typically fall under Hazard Type 4
(HT4) or Hazard Type 3 (HT3).
Now if you are asking yourself “Do I need to worry about this?”
the answer is usually no. If you are buying fireworks
from a non-specialist (such a supermarket) on or
immediately before Guy Fawkes then hazard type
and UN classification would not have any relevance.
This is the case for example if you are buying
selection boxes, sparklers and so on. Or, if you are
buying fireworks and letting them off within a couple of days.
However if you are buying a lot of fireworks and intend
keeping them at home, or if you are keeping fireworks
at home for a long time, these classifications do have
some importance. You may also have noticed some
retailers making a fuss of the fact their fireworks are
“old spec” 1.3G fireworks as a selling point.
So let’s look into this in more detail.
1.3G and 1.4G is a hazard classification that relates
only to transport and packaging. Fireworks classed as
1.3G are considered more hazardous than 1.4G
because they may contain certain chemicals or larger
amounts of flashpowder (a type of gunpowder that is
much more powerful than the usual “blackpowder”).
Within the trade, firework companies are strictly limited
to how many fireworks they can store in one place and
the amount is determined by their classification under the
Explosive Regulations 2014 (the current fireworks
regulations which replaced MSER) which grade fireworks
as Hazard Type 4 or Hazard Type 3. In most cases
it is safe to assume that 1.4G fireworks are Hazard
Type 4 and 1.3G fireworks are Hazard Type 3 although
any changes to the packaging in storage may affect this.
Less HT3 fireworks can be stored than HT4 fireworks
in a given store or shop.
The classification of 1.3G or 1.4G also affects transport
of fireworks and has a direct bearing on
mail order items – most couriers will only ship 1.4G fireworks.
For the public, laws exist which state how many fireworks
you can keep at home and how long for without requiring
registration or a licence. As an example, up to 50kg NEC
of HT4 fireworks can be stored for up to 21 days, but for
HT3 fireworks the time limit is just five days for up to 100kg.
NECmeans net explosive content and is the amount of
actual explosives inside a firework, not to be confused with
the firework’s overall weight including tubes and packaging.
For more detailed information about storing your fireworks
and the legal limits, please refer to the
Safe Fireworks Storage guide.
It used to be the case that all consumer fireworks were only
1.4G, and all professional fireworks were either 1.4G, 1.3G
or the even more hazardous 1.1G.
However huge changes have been made recently with the
way consumer fireworks are classified. Simplifying these
changes greatly for the purposes of this article, consumer
fireworks with more than a certain amount of flashpowder
in them were reclassified from 1.4G to the more hazardous 1.3G.
1.3G fireworks are quite often referred to as old stock
which is a reference to fireworks made before these new
regulations. For a while there was a marked difference in
power and performance between the “old” fireworks (now 1.3G)
and the “new” fireworks with reduced flashpowder (1.4G).
This is not so much the case today for two key reasons.
Firstly the firework factories in China are now up to speed
with the new regulations and are able to extract almost as
much perceived power from fully 1.4G compliant fireworks
as they did from the old 1.3G fireworks. Secondly – and as
a further complication – because 1.3G is just a hazard classification,
the fireworks trade has invented some ingenious ways to “make”
1.3G fireworks less hazardous – making them 1.4G – by
wrapping them in protective wire mesh cases for example.
This type of packaging is often referred to as pyromesh.
It is inevitable that the fireworks buying public want the
most powerful fireworks for the money, so a 1.3G classification
is often seen as indicative of greater power or performance.
Please bear in mind however that 1.3G fireworks bring a
number of restrictions with them, namely the smaller amount
of time you can legally keep them at home and the fact they
cannot be delivered by normal couriers. Thankfully,
most firework ranges now produce excellent 1.4G fireworks
which are every bit as good as the old 1.3G ones, so in
effect normality has been restored to consumer fireworks!
In summary, consumer fireworks can be classified as:
Professional fireworks cover everything else:
Further information about the classifications of fireworks
Don’t worry too much about needing to know all about these
classifications when you are shopping for consumer fireworks.
You only really need to know how much space you have in your
venue since this will dictate whether Category 2 (5m or 8m distance)
or Category 3 (25m) applies. The 1.3G or 1.4G classification comes
into play mainly if you intend buying a lot of fireworks or keeping
them for a long time, and your retailer will advise.
If you’re going to use a professional team to provide your fireworks
display then you don’t need to worry about any of this of course.
If you are working through the beginner’s “Start here!” guide you
can return to it here. Or, pick a new help topic from the menus at
the top of the page.
When you are ready to buy fireworks, whether it is consumer
fireworks or a professional display, have a look at UKFR’s
page for a listing of fireworks suppliers. Always give these
companies priority with your fireworks cash (find out why).
If you want to ask for help or have any other questions,
try the UKFR Fireworks Forum. Beginners are warmly
welcomed and the firework community here is standing by to help you.