Spectacular celebrations: how professional pyrotechnicians keep fireworks safe
New Year’s Eve, concerts, bonfire night, Independence Day: many celebrations bring with them spectacular fireworks displays. Pyrotechnics expert Ron de Koster makes sure fireworks go off without a hitch.
Fireworks aren’t limited to New Year’s Eve celebrations; pyrotechnics are a common feature of big indoor concerts and outdoor events too. Up close and indoors, it’s important to make sure fireworks are safe, explains Ron de Koster, CEO of Terra Nova Holding and De Koster Pyro Events in the Netherlands. “There is a big difference between outdoor aerial fireworks and indoor fireworks. Every product has a safety distance that’s set by the producer or professional user. If you’ve got that, it is not dangerous for the audience.”
Lighting up the sky safely
Sitting in the front row at a stadium concert, you need to trust the person in charge of the flames; that’s where certification is important. In the Netherlands, all pyrotechnics professionals need to be certified – something De Koster considers helpful for the company’s reputation. “Certification helps us to be professional,” De Koster explains. “By law you need a license to shoot fireworks and to get that certificate you need an education in fireworks. Certification makes sure operators aren’t doing dangerous things.”
De Koster works with Kiwa to get his employees certified. Sparks do fly, but as long as they know what they’re doing, running a pyrotechnics display isn’t as dangerous as it might appear. “The real risks come in when pyrotechnicians do stupid things. When you handle the stuff with respect, the job is really no more dangerous than being a taxi driver – as long as you know what you’re doing. I’ve been working in this industry for 38 years and I still have all my fingers left.”
Working with Kiwa to certify employees means the company can put on a spectacular show, no matter what technology they use, lighting up the sky safely.
Personnel certification fireworks expert by Kiwa
To become a pyrotechnician or firework expert, you must get educated, gain experience, but also get certified. Only when you are certified, you can work as a professional fireworks operator during events.
In the Netherlands, Kiwa is mandated by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment to carry out certification of Firework experts. The Fireworks Expert Certification Scheme describes the requirements for the certification and recertification of fireworks experts. It also includes requirements for the exams and the examining body.
You can be certified in the following areas: Large Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Special Effects (PSE) (or both of course). For this purpose Kiwa issues the person certificate Fireworks expert on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.