Pre-Show Meeting and Site Inspection


Mike fire inspector meetingPre-Show Meetings/Site Inspections:

Pre-Show Site Inspection
Every good pyrotechnic operator will inspect his site prior to setup. In most cases, this means coming out the week before the show, or if schedule does not permit this, coming out a couple hours earlier than you would otherwise for setup (usually only for the smaller shows). Site inspection is very important since it helps you determine any special logistical needs for your show. Here are some of the things you should check for when doing a site inspection:

  • Determine if the proper distances can be met from show site to audience by physical measurement
  • Determine prevailing wind direction and how this will effect your site layout
  • Any fire hazards
  • Any issues with gaining access to the show site (i.e. rooftop, parking structure, etc...)
  • Type of material you will be setting up on (i.e. grass, pavement, dirt, roofing material, etc...)
  • Determine if any special tooling or equipment is needed to satisfy your findings from above
  • Pre-Show Meeting
    Before every show (especially larger shows) you need to meet with the customer, fire inspectors, audio personnel, property owner, groundskeepers, and anyone else that might be necessary in ensuring that your show needs and safety is met. Most customers prefer to have the meeting take place well in advance so that they can make sure to accommodate any needs the fireworks crew has as far as logistics are concerned. When meeting with this group of people, it is always necessary that you give off a professional appearance and demeanor. In most cases, the customer has paid what they would consider a significant amount of money for the fireworks display, and you want to make sure they have confidence in your abilities to deliver their money's worth. Not to mention that you don't want the fire inspector second guessing your ability to safely deal with explosives. Always go to your meetings well prepared. Take a list of topics to discuss, and always get their early to do your site inspection before the meeting takes place. This way, you can bring up any safety concerns or logistical matters that arose out of your site inspection during the meeting. Here is a short list of items that should be brought by the operator to a site inspection/meeting:

  • Notepad
  • Business cards
  • Laser Range Finder OR a similar measurement device
  • Show paperwork
  • Plot plan
  • Crew list
  • What topics should I discuss during our meeting?
    There are many things that should be discussed during your pre-show meeting. Depending on who you are meeting with at the time, these are some basic guidelines on what you should ask/discuss:


    Customer Meeting

  • Where the crowd will be
  • Surrounding fire hazards watered down the day before/of
  • Customers responsibility to provide site security - and - Any trouble with security last year
  • Where will my crew enter the field?
  • Make sure sprinklers are turned off on actual show site
  • Any stadium or field lights, turned off 5 min prior to show start if possible
  • Are there going to be any other events going on, if so where, what, and when
  • How many people are expected to attend
  • Nearest Home Depot or other hardware store
  • Will customer be at show
  • Local places to eat
  • Exchange cell phone numbers
  • Typical wind direction/speed
  • How will I be cued to fire?
  • Sand (if needed)
  • Restrooms


  • Fire Inspector Meeting

  • Any problems with the show last year? Security? Fires?
  • Will you have any stand by engines or hoses?
  • Setup, angles, and fire precautions
  • Questions or comments?
  • Exchange cell phone numbers
  • Wind

  • Audio Technician Meeting

  • Where the audio booth will be set up
  • Test run
  • Communications
  • Equipment capability (headsets or FSK line)
  • What time will he/she arrive
  • Exchange cell phone numbers


  • Boat Captain Meeting (for a boat/barge show)

    • Number of deckhands that will be onboard
    • What facilities will be available to us on the vessel/barge
      • Head
      • Sleeping quarters (vessel only)
      • Shelter (from pyro and weather)
    • Duration of trip
    • Safety briefing for my crew
    • Personnel capacity (i.e., including the operator, how many crew you can take to sea)
    • Communications with captain while underway and during show
    • Lights for the deck
    • Equipment loading to/from the deck of the vessel/barge
    • Name of Vessel
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