Display Fireworks Inspection Guide


  1. Discharge site: the area immediately surrounding the fireworks mortars used for an outdoor fireworks display.
  2. Display site: the immediate area where a fireworks display is conducted, including the discharge site, the fallout area, and the required separation distance from mortars to spectator viewing areas, but not spectator viewing areas or vehicle parking areas.
  3. Fallout area: the designated area in which hazardous debris is intended to fall after a pyrotechnic device is fired.
  4. Aerial shell: a cartridge containing pyrotechnic composition, a burst charge, and an internal time fuse or module that is propelled into the air from a mortar and that is intended to burst at or near apogee.
  5. Chain fusing: a series of two or more aerial shells fused to fire in sequence from a single ignition.
  6. Mortar: a tube from which certain aerial devices are fired into the air.
  7. Mortar rack: a frame containing one or more mortars.
  8. Mortar trough: aboveground structure filled with sand or similar material into which mortars are positioned.
  9. NFPA: National Fire Protection Association

Site Plan

Applicant shall submit a detailed site plan, to include but not be limited to distance requirements per NFPA, firing method, mortar installation and product being used along with the name of the licensed or pyrotechnic display operator.

Display Operator

Effective Aug. 28, 2004, Missouri State Statue (RSMO. 320.126.4) became law requiring all fireworks displays “shall be supervised, managed, or directed by a Missouri licensed operator or pyrotechnic operator on site”. Operators must be licensed by the Division of Fire Safety.

Assistants – shall be at least 18 years old


Permit applicant shall submit proof of insurance coverage insuring the applicant with liability insurance in order to satisfy claims for damages to property or personal injuries arising out of any act or omission on the part of such person, firm or corporation or any agent or employee thereof with an occurrence limit of not less than $1,000,000.

Site Safety/Security

The licensed pyrotechnic display operator shall have primary responsibility for safety.

Any time fireworks or pyrotechnic materials are on location, they shall not be left unattended or unsecured.

Monitors shall be positioned around the display site to prevent spectators or any other unauthorized persons from entering the display site.

Where required by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), approved delineators or barriers shall be used to aid in crowd control.

Mortar Inspection

  • Mortars shall be inspected prior to placement.
  • Defective mortars shall not be used.
  • Mortars shall be positioned and spaced so that shells are propelled over the fallout area and to afford maximum protection to the shooter and loader.
  • Where mortars are to be reloaded during a display, the following procedures shall be followed:
    • Mortars of various sizes shall not be intermixed.
    • Mortars of the same size shall be placed in groups, and the groups shall be separated from one another.

Mortar Installation

  • Mortars shall be buried to a depth of at least two-thirds of their length, either in the ground or in aboveground troughs or drums.
  • Mortars that are to be reloaded during the display shall be buried to a depth between two-thirds and three-quarters of their length, either in the ground or in aboveground troughs or drums.
  • Where buried mortars are to be fired more than once during a display, the mortars shall be placed to prevent them from being driven into the ground or re-angled when fired.
  • Mortars that are buried in the ground, in troughs, or in drums shall be separated from adjacent mortars by a distance at least equal to the diameter of the mortar.
    • If electrical ignition of unchained aerial shells 6 inches and less in diameter is used, no separation of mortars is required.
    • If troughs and drums are used, they shall be filled with sand or soft dirt and, in all cases, shall be free of stones or other potentially dangerous debris.
    • Troughs shall be reinforced or braced in a minimum of two places on the sides at intervals not greater than every 4 feet.
    • Mortars in troughs or drums shall be positioned to afford the maximum protection to the shooter.
    • In all other cases, a separation distance of at least 2 inches or one-half the diameter of the mortar, whichever is greater, shall be required between the mortar and the wall of the trough or drum.
    • Where electrical ignition is used, all mortars placed in troughs or drums shall be spaced at least 2 inches from the wall of the trough or drum.
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