The Explosives Regulatory Division (ERD) of Natural Resources Canada regulates the use of Pyrotechnics Special Effects and Display Fireworks in Canada.
A certification process is in place for both Fireworks Supervisor and Special Effects Pyrotechnician with courses being given throughout Canada on a regular basis. Successful participants are issued entry-level certification and must meet basic apprenticeship requirements within a given time frame to become fully certified or to move on to the next level of certification.
PURCHASING PYROTECHINICS:IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PURCHASER/USER TO BE FAMILIAR WITH THE RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE SAFE AND LAWFUL USE OF PYROTECHINICS IN CANADA
To Purchase PYROTECHNIC SPECIAL EFFECTS of any kind, you must:
Be certified with respect to the different products being purchased. Show a valid pyrotechnic certificate to the vendor.
THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS
To use PYROTECHNIC SPECIAL EFFECTS in Canada you must apply for a permit from the appropriate AHJ – (Authority Having Jurisdiction) – typically the local Fire Prevention Office. (see the Pyrotechnics special effects manual for more detail).
Special Effects Glossary
Suspended overhead from truss or pipe, this device simulates an aerial firework effect. It consists of a small packet of pyrotechnic material and an electric match.
A multiple-shot fireworks or pyrotechnics device fired with a single ignition.
A chain-fused firework that shoots a series of aerial shells, comets or mines into the air from collectively attached tubes. Cakes come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are the most commonly purchased Consumer Firework.
Cake Star/Ice Fountain
This mini-pyrotechnic effect is available for professional or consumer/retail use. When lit it emits a 40 second fountain of bright white sparkles leaving no residue. Ice Fountains are used to create Pyrotechnic signage. Cake Stars are used as cake toppers or in high-end bars for VIP bottle service.
Close Proximity Fireworks
Aerial fireworks have gone through a major revolution that led to the development of a new family of fireworks called Close Proximity Pyrotechnics or 'Close Prox'. These Comets, Mines, Crossettes and Skybursts are clean, low smoke and reach heights of up to 350'. They can be fired as close as 35' of an audience.
A star or fiery ball, which emits a thick tail of sparks on the way up.
Fireworks that have been approved for retail sale to the public.
A Comet that, when reaching it’s maximum altitude, splits four ways in the shape of a cross, moving outward.
Daylight fireworks concentrate less on light and more on noise and coloured smoke and/or the brightness of effects such as Comets and Crossettes.
Display fireworks are professional fireworks used outdoors. These require a licensed provider.
The area immediately surrounding the fireworks mortars used for an outdoor fireworks display.
An electric device containing a small amount of pyrotechnic material that ignites when current flows through it.
The designated area in which hazardous debris is intended to fall after an aerial fireworks device is fired. This varies depending on the size and style of the effects used.
Nitrated paper. This material is very easily ignited and may be used to produce a ball of fire, or flash of light.
A Gerb is a type of firework that produces a fountain of sparks, lasting from ¼ of a second to 60 seconds. Gerbs are measured in terms of time and height. For example a ¼ X 12 stage Gerb burns for ¼ of a second at a height of 12 feet.
This palette of effects include Gerb Fountains, Airbursts, Mines, Comets, Line Rockets, Flash Paper Screens, Mini Smoke effects, and of course, low-smoke Coloured Pyro Effects. If you want something you haven't seen, just ask. With enough lead-time we can have effects custom-made for your event!
Permit (see Pyro 101 for more details)
A permit is required for every use of pyrotechnics. There are NO EXCEPTIONS!! The permits are issued by the local Fire Department, following Federal regulations. You cannot apply for the permit nor can the venue. Only a special effects supplier can apply for a permit. Some jurisdictions charge a fee.
A tube filled with stars that are shot into the air – like a handful of mini-comets that may or may not have trailing tails.
A tube, sealed at one end for firing shells and mines.
In the trade these are called "Lance & Frame" - named after the tiny burning flares, the Lance, whose points of light form the image, and the Frame that the Lance are attached to. We use a low-smoke product that emulates the Lance and allows us to spell out your message in bright silver letters indoors (see Cake Star/Ice Fountain).
Using a 45 second mini-pyro fountain (Ice Fountain) placed within table centrepieces, these effects are fired simultaneously, on cue, with an electric match using Radio Remote control.
These are Gerbs mounted vertically in banks of several tubes, placed some distance above the ground and fired down so that when ignited, the effect looks like a brilliant waterfall of sparks.
WATER EFFECTSAnimated Water Fountains
Animated Water Fountains are microprocessor controlled “dancing waters” and can be sized and programmed to meet your requirements.
Existing fountains and water can be temporarily coloured. The products used to colour the water are specifically designed for this purpose and are safe, environmentally friendly, easy to apply and best of all, with a little sleight-of-hand, the colour vanishes almost instantly.
Water Mist Effects
Water Mist Effects that look like fog or smoke are created when water, at City water pressure, is fed into a high-pressure pump and sent out at 800 to 1000 PSI to a series of nozzles with very small openings creating a fine mist. Our Water Mist systems have a “No-Drip, Instant ON/OFF” function. This is an excellent cost-effective solution for outdoor fog or smoke that needs to run for a long duration and also works excellently in existing fountains or pools.
FLAME EFFECTSAlcohol Fireplace Inserts
Designed for indoor locations, these safe and reliable stainless steel units burn an ultra-clean proprietary alcohol fuel and DO NOT require venting. The easily adjustable flame burns from 4 – 7 hours between refills. Alcohol flame units can be built into sets, scenery, decor vignettes, bars or buffet tables and even solid ice.
Authentic looking artificial flame is created using light, air and silk. From hanging bowls to "Olympic" Flames to hand-held "Olympic" Torches. Artificial flame comes in a number of 120 volt and battery-operated options, both off the shelf and custom-made to suit your application. Artificial flame effects are best suited to indoor applications.
Coloured Flame Projector
The PRISM Coloured Flame unit uses a purpose-made and patented flame fluid to shoot Red, Green, Blue, Purple or Orange flame up to 12 feet in the air. Up to four colors can be housed inside each the unit at one time giving you access to multiple colors on demand. There is onboard flame safeguard technology to ensure a safe and reliable coloured flame effect.
Standing coloured flame is available in many stand-alone formats like the 20 minute coloured flame gel packs, offered in 7 vivid colors.
LeTorcia Self-Lighting Butane Torch
The LeTorcia is an off-the-shelf hand-held butane torch. This 18" long cylinder, complete with adjustable flame, dead-man switch and 2 oz. butane cartridge. It can be used by itself or can be built into a prop or piece of scenery.
Propane Fire Effects
We can use Propane outdoors in a variety of applications to create bright and mesmerizing flame effects. Propane can be used to supply flames that burn all night or flames that light and extinguish on cue. Propane is provincially regulated in Canada. In Ontario, the TSSA inspects and approves each and every application and installation. We use 100% Flame Safety technology with all of our Propane effects.
ATMOSPHERIC EFFECTSBubble Machines
Bubble machines come in various sizes determining sizes and styles. To create bubbles, purpose-made bubble fluid is blown through the machine using a fan. Bubble machines can be hung or left on the floor depending on the desired effect and style of machine.
Liquid CO2 released into the air creates a solid white smoke effect. Unlike smoke, CO2 dissipates instantly. CO2 can be used for a quick change or reveal. CO2 effects can be built into a set or decor, and can shoot vertically, horizontally, or at any angle. CO2 Ice-Jets shoot a 20' long, thick white stream high into the air and are often seen in large-scale rock concerts and tours. CO2 Bazooka’s can be used to fire CO2 manually over the crowd. The quality of CO2 effects is dependent on temperature and humidity.
The Dry-Icer is a small dry ice machine that is lightweight yet powerful. The rate of flow is easily controlled, and the unit’s 9kg dry ice capacity gives approximately 5 minutes of fog production.
Evaporative snow is safe, realistic, non-toxic, non-slip and biodegradable. It is most often used on stage or at corporate or social events to mark an entrance, highlight a design vignette or punctuate a moment. In an installation, these effects can be run on cue, on a timer or with motion detectors. Evaporative Snow machines consist of a pump and a blower and use purpose-made Snow Fluid, which is a formulation of purified water and surfactants. The pump sucks fluid from a reservoir and injects it into an airstream created by the blower. This forces the liquid through a mesh cone that turns the atomized liquid into tiny white bubbles. By controlling the amount of fluid being sprayed and the speed of the blower, we control the size of the ‘snow flakes’. Evaporative Snow Machines can be combined with a fan for extra distance and dryness.
Fog/Smoke effects can be created using Dry Ice, Fog fluid or Liquid CO2 chilled fog. We have a variety of machines that can be used to cover the smallest stage or the largest ballroom, for moments or hours.
Haze effects create an unobtrusive, homogeneous cloud in the air intended primarily to reveal lighting or laser beams. This effect is produced using a haze machine and water based haze fluid.
The LSG (Low Smoke Generator) offers superior performance for your Low-Lying Fog needs. The LSG utilizes liquid Co2 to chill the fog to sub zero temperatures. The purpose-made "molecular" fluid produces a dry, white fog that quickly dissipates.
The LSX offers an acceptable, inexpensive solution to a long durations fog effect. It is an electric powered cooling unit that chills incoming fog from its companion fog machines to create a low-lying blanket of fog similar to that of dry ice machines.
This is a plastic snow that is used mainly with Snow Troughs, displays or design vignettes. It accumulates on the ground.
CONFETTI/STREAMER EFFECTSConfetti Turbines
Using Liquid CO2, these Confetti Turbines shoot up to a pound of confetti per second. They consume approximately one pound of liquid CO2 per second.
Hand-Held Confetti/Streamer Guns
These 30" x 1" PVC devices use a disposable CO2 cartridge and hold approx. 0.5lbs of confetti or streamers. They shoot approximately 20 feet, and require no setup or tear down.
High Pressure Air Cannons
These units can be hung from a truss or placed on the floor. With a 24" x 2" barrel, they shoot 100 Streamers or one pound of Confetti up to 30 feet.
COOL MIST OPTIONSCool Mist
Cool Mist Systems incorporate .008" spray nozzles and a high-pressure pump system that produce water droplets smaller than 8 microns. When water droplets this small hit the surrounding warm/hot air they "flash evaporate", taking energy, in the form of heat, out of the air. This reduces the surrounding temperature as much as 13° C (39° F), even in a humid climate like ours. All you'll need is a 15 amp outlet and a water hose connection to a potable water source at city pressure and Cool Mist Canopies or Cool Mist Fans can help your guests stay cool and comfortable.
Cool Mist Canopies
We have Cool Mist Canopies in both 10' x 10' and 10' x 20' sizes. Each Cool Mist Canopy comes equipped with a high-pressure pump, distribution tubing and .008" nozzles. The Cool Mist Canopies require a potable water source at city pressure. We can supply branded canopies with three weeks advance notice. We can also install our Misting Systems into your existing tents and structures.
Cool Mist Fans
Our 30” Cool Mist Fans require 2x 15amp power sources and are sturdy, attractive, and easy to use. Combining 12,000 Cubic feet per Minute (CFM) of airflow with a potable water source at city pressure the Cool Mist Fans provide instant heat relief. Our Master Units can send water out to satellite fans allowing for extensive coverage. The Satellite Units require only one 15amp power source and are fed from the Master Units with high-pressure tubing.
The new Diode technology in the modern laser has shrunk the Laser itself to a footprint of less than two feet square. Lasers can be hung on truss and only need a 15 amp circuit. Traditionally Laser Displays will feature crisp, bright Beams and Atmospherics, Graphics and Logos, and are often set to music.
A little bigger than a toaster, this Scent Cartridge System delivers scent invisibly, without mist or moisture, on cue, or all night long. There are a wide variety of scents available or scents can be custom-designed.
Our searchlights are 1000 watt Xenon units, complete with motorized sweeping head, and adjustable beam angle and project a beam of light up to 1 mile high. These searchlights plug into a standard 15 amp/120 volt power outlet.
Using a backpack mounted aluminum 5 lb. CO2 cylinder, T-Shirt Guns can fire a t-shirt or other soft giveaway up to 80 feet, up to twenty shots per tank.
The Explosive Regulatory Division (ERD, http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/minerals-metals/explosives/3476) “Administers Canada’s Explosives Act and regulations through a system of licenses and permits supported by a compliance inspection program. The importation, manufacture, storage, sale, and some aspects of transportation by road of explosives, propellants, fireworks, and other pyrotechnics in Canada are controlled through the headquarters office in Ottawa and regional offices across the country.”
The Technical Safety and Standards Authority (TSSA, www.tssa.org) administers and enforces public safety laws in various sectors under Ontario’s Technical Standards and Safety Act including propane gas use.
In Canada all pyrotechnics and fireworks are federally regulated. The Explosive Regulatory Division (ERD) of Natural Resources Canada tests and approves all products, regulates the distribution and use of products, and issues licenses for the technicians and operators.
STAGE PYRO 101
PERMITSA permit is required for every use of pyrotechnics. There ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!! The permits are issued by the local Fire Department, following the Federal regulations. You cannot apply for the permit, nor can the venue. Only a special effects provider can apply for the permit. It takes a minimum of 5 business days to get a permit.
The permit application requires...
1 - A letter of permission from the property owner or the venue management
2 - An accurate drawing of the effects, including location of audience, fire exits, fire extinguishers and the operator.
3 - A list of the effects being used and a complete description of how they will be used.
3 - Copies of the operators Pyro License(s)
4 - Proof of $5,000,00.00 Liability insurance
5 - An Insurance Certificate naming the Municipality as co-insured.
6 - Any special municipal forms
7 - Payment of the Municipal fee if there is one
DISTANCESFor the purposes of pyrotechnics, humanity is divided into two categories - "willing" and "unwilling" participants. Willing participants include performers, musicians, presenters, technicians, etc. They must be at a "Safe Distance" from the effects. Safe Distance differs for every product and circumstance. Your pyrotechnics provider will work with you on establishing Safe Distance.
Unwilling participants are everyone else, essentially audience and spectators. These people, with a few exceptions, must be AT LEAST 5 meters from the effects. This is a hard number that you can use in planning audience or table placement when pyrotechnics are being used.
FIRE WATCHAs well as dazzling visuals, all pyrotechnics produce smoke. Most venues these days have smoke detectors, either in the room itself, in the adjoining hallways, or in the air-handling ducts. The smoke produced by the pyrotechnic effects can set off these alarms. Most permits are issued with the caveat that these alarms must be placed in bypass mode - the alarm silenced, and visually monitored. Typically a Fire Watch - personnel from security or engineering - will attend the event. There is ALWAYS a charge for this - speak to your venue.
KEY INFORMATIONyou will need to provide to your pyrotechnics supplier before an accurate quote can be given or the permit process begins:
Will the venue/property allow pyrotechnics? Most will, but the question must be asked.
What do you want the effects to look like or feel like? What kind of duration are you looking for? What is your vision?
The location of the venue? Where is the audience?
What is the size of stage? Ceiling height? Stage height? Ceiling treatment? Who and what is onstage when you fire?
MANY OF THESE SAME QUESTIONS MUST BE ANSWERED FOR OUTDOOR, CLOSE PROXIMITY AND DISPLAY FIREWORKS.