Fireworks End Of Year Checklist

Fireworks End Of Year Checklist

by: Matthew Kleinmann

Hello fellow pyros.  Another great fireworks season in the books now.  Hopefully everybody has had a fun and exciting summer and you all have the correct number of fingers and toes and no unwanted holes in you.

You can thank using your head for part of that, but you should also remember your personal protective equipment and the other stuff in your fireworks box.  This is a good time of the year to go through your fireworks box and do some housekeeping chores.

The first thing is to make sure everything works.  If anything was giving you grief during the season, repair it now, or replace it.  Don’t wait until the spring when you will be under a time crunch to get it done.

The next thing is to take the batteries out of anything that has batteries in it.  Don't forget the remote to your firing system.  If you are too cheap to go out and buy fresh batteries next season, you can take them out of all of your devices and put them in a baggie. Why risk having a battery burst and leak over the winter and mess up an expensive piece of gear because you were too lazy to take 5 minutes and remove them?  That is just false economy and the first time you have a problem you will understand why.

While you have the batteries out it might not be a bad idea to burnish the contacts with a pencil erasure and give them a little swaving off with some alcohol.  You really want to be able to depend on pressing the button and having the effect go off.  Make sure the power contacts are all nice and clean.

Take your safety glasses in the house and give them a rinse with some warm water and a drop of dish detergent.  If they are scratched, add them to the list of things to be replaced.

Given you are now in a cleaning mode, you might as well use some mild detergent and some paper towels to rub down your shooters phones.  They have been rolling around in your ear sweat all summer.  Once you have the ear pads rubbed down, you might as well do the head and and the back of the phones as well.  It will be nice to put on new looking phones next season!

Another part that takes a lot of abuse are the remote pods for your firing system.  Even if you built little wooden doghouses for them, they still get fireworks slime on them.  Give them a nice rub down with mild detergent and a paper towel and they will also look like new.

Bright LED headlights and flashlights are taken for granted these days, but still, given you have the stuff out, give them a quick rub down.  You know how surprised you are when you put fresh batteries in your flashlight?  You might be surprised at how much of a difference cleaning the lense makes.

Now that all your electronics are in order, it’s time to move onto the “stuff”.  Over a season I collect a lot of stuff.  It is time to sort out the thousands of rubber bands you get from shells and put them in a container.  Not in your pyro box!  I always wind up with many little spools of match wire from spent matches.  Keep a few of the longest ones for squib wire, but you don’t need 30 of them.  Again, dump the rest in an appropriate place.  I end up with a lot of e match receptacles from things we hand fire, and fuse ends from things we e fire.  Dispose of them properly.  Go through your nails and chuck the ones that are too bent to re use.  Make sure your scissors and small hand tools are all there.  You might put a drop of oil on the moving joints.  Give your tape to the kids and get more in the spring.  I generally carry masking, black, and duct tape.  Shake your can of bug spray and replace it if you need more.  Ditto with your sun block.  Give your wife your wet naps and buy a new can in the spring.  They will dry out over the winter.  Make a spring list of stuff you need.  

Now you can put your box away knowing it will be pounds lighter, and that everything will be in tip top shape come next season.

Matthew Kleinmann  Is a professional, licensed pyrotechnician and a staff writer for Mess's Fireworks.