Do you love fireworks? You don’t have to wait for your municipality to put on a public display to enjoy a fireworks show. As long as you have the space, you can put on an enjoyable fireworks show at home using only commercially available fireworks that are legal in most states.

Prepare for your fireworks show by anchoring mortars, bottle rockets, cakes, roman candles, and other consumer fireworks to a piece of wood so they can’t fall over and shoot their fiery innards right at you and your guests. Make sure your guests have plenty of space to stand well back from the firing line, so that if something does fire directly at them, they’ll be out of range. Make sure you wear safety gear while lighting off fireworks, and keep something handy to put out fires just in case.

Anchor Your Fireworks So They Don’t Fall Over

A lit firework that is not safely anchored can fall over and shoot pyrotechnic material at people on the ground. Anchor your consumer fireworks by screwing them to a long piece of wood. A piece of plywood that is about two feet wide by about eight feet long should be heavy enough to keep a row of consumer fireworks well anchored.

Many of the consumer-grade fireworks you can buy have plastic bases. You can drive screws right through these plastic bases to anchor them in place on a piece of wood. Some consumer fireworks do not have plastic bases, but instead have clay plugs in the bottom of the firework. You can drive screws right through the bottom of these fireworks, because the clay plug will protect the pyrotechnic ingredients from the screw.

Put your fireworks down the long side of the plywood, arranging them in firing order. You can use both long sides if you have that many fireworks you’re planning to set off. Place the piece of plywood with the short end facing the audience. You can light the fuses one at a time, or you can connect them all together using a roll of fuse.

Give the Fireworks Plenty of Space

You need a lot of outdoor space to be able to light off home fireworks safely – at least, if you’re lighting off the kinds of fireworks that shoot up into the air, like bottle rockets, roman candles, and mortars. If you don’t have enough space, you’re going to have to stick with ground fireworks like fountains and spinners.

You need to be able to put your audience pretty far back from the firing line if you’re setting off aerial fireworks. Figure out how high your highest firework flies, then plan to keep your audience at a minimum of one-and-a-half times that distance. So, if your highest firework flies to a height of 150 feet, you’ll need to keep your audience 225 feet from the firing line.

Aerial fireworks can drop flaming debris over a wide radius, so make sure you have enough space for a fallout zone. Your fallout zone should extend roughly twice as far as your audience safe zone. The fallout zone should have no brush, trees, piles of dry organic material, structures, or power lines.  Keep your audience upwind of the firing line so that debris falls in the fallout zone and not on your audience.

Wear Safety Gear While Lighting Off Fireworks

You don’t need to go out and buy a welder’s helmet or anything like that, but dress to protect yourself from falling sparks. Wear long sleeves and long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes or, preferably, boots. Make sure your clothes are made with natural fibers, because synthetic fibers could melt into your skin if they catch sparks. Wear a baseball cap turned backward to protect your neck and head, and a pair of goggles to protect your eyes. Put on construction gloves to protect your hands. You might want to use a headlamp so you can see what you’re doing, especially if you’re lighting all the fuses separately.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy

You definitely don’t want to catch anything on fire, so keep something handy to put out fires. A fire extinguisher, water hose, or a bucket of water or sand would be ideal. Remember to keep it near the firing zone – firework accidents by necessity occur in the dark, so you want to know exactly where your fire extinguishing equipment is.

Putting on a fireworks show at home can be a great way to get your fireworks fix even when no public displays are upcoming in your area. Just make sure you set off your fireworks safely, so your night of fun can stay that way.