Frequently Asked Questions

Are fireworks dangerous?
I heard that fireworks are now computer controlled, is this true?
Does Fireworks for Africa sell fireworks directly to the public?
Does Fireworks for Africa have an Environmental Policy?
How much does an average display cost?
How long is the average fireworks display?
How far in advance should we start planning for a display?
What do you need to know about the shooting location?
What about permits?
Is there a difference between a pyrotechnic display and a fireworks display?
Are fireworks dangerous?

Fireworks are essentially explosives and therefore dangerous. Consumer fireworks cause many injuries every year and this is why there is a growing feeling, worldwide, that fireworks should be taken out of the hands of the consumer and left to the professionals.

It is far safer to take your family to an organised display where the fireworks are fired by trained pyrotechnicians. Today fireworks are fired by computer and therefore are safer for the pyrotechnicians as well.

I heard that fireworks are now computer controlled, is this true?

The firing system we use is considered to be one of the top three systems available in the world today. The system, which is really a computer, can fire more than 6 000 cues to within 100th of a second. It is also radio controlled allowing us to fire off many structures at the same time. All our pyro-musical displays are fired totally by the controller. All we do is turn on the key!

Does Fireworks for Africa sell fireworks directly to the public?

No, we are a fireworks and pyrotechnics display company. We work with Class B fireworks and pyrotechnics, not intended for use by the public, and all our operators are registered with the Chief Inspector of Explosives. We import and manufacture fireworks for our own use only.

Does Fireworks for Africa have an Environmental Policy?

At Fireworks for Africa, we take our surroundings very seriously, which is why the company has put measures in place to protect the environment, whilst operating in our day to day activities.

Aerial display shells, seen at most displays, are made from either cardboard or plastic. The newer, plastic shells are cheaper and easier to work with, as they are waterproof, but we have chosen to stick to the old fashioned cardboard shells because they are environmentally friendlier. The cardboard shells are essentially made of paper and are totally bio-degradable.

Our confetti is also bio-degradable. It costs more but we believe that it’s definitely worth it in the long run. When we fire confetti outdoors we clean it up, bring it back to our store and shred it to mix into our compost heap. We have also started to use effects that are less noisy and have removed salutes and large calibre shells from our stores.

We have introduced low noise displays, using our state-of-the-art mines and comets, which produce a maximum of 50db. You will have seen these effects at stadiums across South Africa.

At our facility in Johannesburg, we recycle everything that can be recycled. We have separate bins for glass, paper, tin, leftover explosives (which we destroy) and garbage. Even the water used on the property goes back into our extensive garden and all garden waste is made into compost. We also only use batteries for back up power which is far ‘greener’ than gensets! No poisons are used on the property, not for pest control or for keeping our 1km boundary fence clean. We prefer the old method of clearing by hand, which takes far longer but is better for the environment and the extensive bird life found at the facility. we are proud to provide homes for owls, Hornbills and Guinea Fowl here.

The Fireworks for Africa team also spends a lot of time in the Muldersdrift area, cutting down alien invader plants such as Black Wattle, which, unfortunately, are rife in this area. Our team shares a common concern for the environment and we all try our best to conserve it in any way possible.

How much does an average display cost?

Because every show has different specifications, we do not put a price on “an average show”. We customise every display to fit each venue and event’s individual needs. Small shows can start at R20,000 and larger shows could exceed R500,000. The deciding factors in determining the cost of your show will be the size, quality and type of effects being used, as well as the duration of the show and weather it is a pyromusical or traditional display.

How long is the average fireworks display?

5-15 minutes is the typical length of an average display. The key factors involved in the show length are your budget, or more specifically, how many firework shells and/or 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 advance should we start planning for a display?

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 2 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.

What about permits?

FFA handles the permit applications to the local Fire Department, The Chief Inspector of Explosives and the Department of Civil Aviation if applicable.

Is there a difference between a pyrotechnic display and a fireworks display?

A pyrotechnic display involves the use of close proximity pyrotechnics which can be fired in close proximity to buildings and the audience. These pyrotechnics are what would be seen at stadium shows like concerts and sporting events.

Fireworks on the other hand need to be fired at a safe distance to buildings and the audience.

Behind the scenes

Some of our displays from around the world

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As the leading fireworks display operator on the African continent, Fireworks for Africa is well-equipped to handle your event, anywhere in the world, whatever the size or scope.

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