Thomasville Times Enterprise

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July 3, 2014

Flowers in the sky

THOMASVILLE — The City of Roses will feature a wide variety of flaming flowers on Friday.

Thomas County citizens and guests will gather downtown to watch the 9:30 p.m. CNS fireworks show put on by an East Coast Pyrotechnics team that travels the country to entertain audiences throughout the year.

East Coast Pyrotechnic event producer Scott Donahue explained how members of the team are trained for the launching of fireworks.

“They first have to assist with a minimum of five shows so we can see if they are interested in the hard work that goes into firing fireworks,” he said.

The training includes preparing the team for set-up, clean-up and unexpected weather. A requirement is that each team member must go through American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) training, which is an eight-hour course that tests members on “book knowledge” of pyrotechnics. Regulations of transport is included.

Every three years, the person must go through training to stay accredited.

The transporting of fireworks is a dangerous job. Fireworks are transported on a truck and secured in boxes. The boxes must be safely and securely fastened in the back of the truck to prevent them from sliding.

Donahue said, “We have to carry each box out of the truck. They cannot be slid around.”

When the team is at their firing location,  the racks that hold the fireworks are taken out. The rack must be stable and immovable.

Small fireworks are hand fired, but larger fireworks events like the local one require an electronic firing system.

“It generally takes two or three people to set the fireworks off and to put on the show, depending on the experience of the crew members and size of the show,” said Donahue.

The event producer also explained the different classifications of fireworks.

He said, “We will be using 1.3g fireworks, which as known as commercial fireworks. The smaller fireworks that are found in stores are consumer fireworks, which are 1.4g.”

The "1.3" and "1.4" are Hazard Divisions in the explosives Class 1, and the "G" is the Compatibility Group, which can range from A through L or N through S.

The commercial fireworks are in the 1.3 hazard division, while the smaller consumer fireworks are in the 1.4 hazard division.

The "G" is not an abbreviation for any word. It does not stand for "grams." It is the Compatibility Group that includes fireworks.

Different types of fireworks have names relating to their color and effect. The naming of fireworks is based on flowers and colors.

The peony is one of the most common types of fireworks. It is named for the showy, large flower and has a star-like explosion that transforms into a circle of stars — without trailing. A dahlia is a variation of the peony. Its effect has larger starts that can travel farther out.

“The color is also part of the name. For instance, a red dahlia will be red with the given explosion effect,” explained Donahue.

Another popular effect is the chrysanthemum firework. It has a spherical break of colored stars with a very short burn time followed by crackling.

All variation of fireworks branch off from one another. For example, the willow effect is similar to the chrysanthemum, but has less of an ongoing flare with the trails gradually diminishing giving is a willow branch-like effect.

Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826.

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