Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Practice Of Fuse Safety With Pyrotechnics

By James Chen

In the preparations for a fireworks spectacle, you need to spend some time to carefully make plans for the fuse. Even if the lowly fuse will hardly be noticed at the height of the display, it nevertheless plays a pivotal role in the success of the presentation. A haphazardly selected and laid out fuse line can spell disaster for your show.

Some safety fuse thoughts

Whether you are using commercial or home-made fuses you have to stop to think about some vital considerations. Primarily, the fuse wires should be sturdy enough to be capable of twisting, bending and folding without giving out.

Firmly sealed and water-proofed

In fuse safety, the components that burn are wrapped in two sheaths of cloth. Each sheath is water-proofed. A final tube of plastic may serve to hold everything in place. Make sure the tubes of the fuse are pliable enough not to tear when they are manipulated. The black powder may pour out of the tube through the tear. If the fuse is lighted, it may stop at that point. Additionally, the spilt black powder can cause mishaps.

Before selecting a specific fuse from the store, ask for a small sample. Seal off any open ends with water proof adhesive and dunk the fuse in a bottle of water. If, after removing it from water it turns out that the fuse sample is soaked, don't buy it.

Fuse lines are usually doubly provided with water-proofing. This may be a coat of asphaltum or an additional layer of plastic tubing. For a successful pyrotechnics show, the fuses should be totally impregnable to water. A fuse is only as strong as its weakest part. If any one portion of the fuse lets in water, your show is over.

Easily manipulated

A good safety fuse can be bent and twisted in many contortions without losing its functionality. The more exuberant fireworks shows will require complicated networks of fuse lines.

Fuse safety means slow enough

The person initiating the display should be given time to provide a safe distance between him and the pyrotechnics from the moment he sets off the show until the moment the first fireworks blast off. This is one of the reasons why safety fuses were made. In this regard, make sure you are not buying quick matches (very fast fuses) instead of safety ones. Quick matches will have the explosions up in the air even before you have turned your back to take cover. One second is all they need to cover 100 feet.

The risks involved in fuse safety

Ironic as it seems, certain dangers are present with the use of fuse safety devices. The fact that good safety fuses are well sealed and strong makes them that much more difficult to put out once set off. They will even continue burning under the ocean. In fact they are used widely for underwater explosions.

That underscores the importance of drawing out your pyrotechnics display on paper. You shall at least be able to check each item out for readiness before initiating anything. A checklist of the things you need to do and check becomes very important if you are organizing a fireworks spectacular.

Keep a very sharp pair of gardening scissors handy in case you need to cut the fuse to prevent it from proceeding.


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