Fire Safety for Public Outdoor Display of Fireworks Policy


The objective of this policy is to provide guidelines and procedures by which fireworks may be safely displayed and/or discharged outdoors upon the University of Florida campus.


Organizations, groups, and individuals sponsoring outdoor public display of fireworks shall comply with rules, regulations and procedures as outlined in this policy, as well as all applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations. Other types of fireworks not complying with this policy are expressly prohibited upon the University of Florida campus, except those complying with the University of Florida Policy on the use of Pyrotechnics before a Proximate Audience.


The following University requirements for the public outdoor display of fireworks are drawn from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Standard for Public Display of Fireworks (ANSI/NFPA 1123, Outdoor Display of Fireworks, 2010 Edition), and firsthand knowledge of existing on-site physical conditions. The storage and transportation of fireworks shall comply with NFPA 1124 Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, and Storage of Fireworks, 2006 Edition and is not redefined by this policy.


Environmental Health and Safety

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) shall review and approve the location of proposed fireworks discharge site. EH&S will review, sign and forward the required State Fire Marshal “Permit Application for the Use of Pyrotechnics Displays”.  This form must be submitted to EH&S a minimum of 30 days prior to the proposed event date.  Once the permit is approved by the SFM the signed form will be returned to the pyrotechnics operator and event sponsor.

EH&S shall provide supervision and guidance to fireworks operator prior to setting up the display, during discharge of the fireworks and after discharge to assist in determination that the launch area is safe.

At their discretion EH&S shall have the authority to suspend or terminate the display due to weather, wind or any other condition deemed unsafe.

University of Florida Police Department

The University of Florida Police Department (UPD) has the authority to suspend or terminate fireworks displays on the University of Florida campus at any time upon their own discretion and/or upon the advice of the University’s Division of EH&S, the producer of the event, or a Gainesville Fire Rescue official.

Fireworks Company/Operator

The fireworks company/operator shall complete and submit the SFM “Permit Application for the Use of Pyrotechnic Display”.  SFM Pyro Technic Form 
EH&S will submit the permit application to the SFM on behalf of UF and the operator.  Contact UF Fire Safety Office at (352) 392-1591 for submission requirements.

The fireworks company/operator shall supply the following: fireworks, tools and equipment for shipping and receiving, safety on-site storage, and the necessary number of qualified personnel needed to set up, fire the display and thoroughly clear the entire area of fireworks debris at the conclusion of the event. 

Public display operators shall be licensed or approved in accordance with any and all applicable state, county, or municipal laws. The fireworks operator shall supply two 10# ABC fire extinguishers properly tagged and functioning. A Florida licensed fire equipment dealer shall tag the fire extinguishers.

The fireworks display contractor shall be required to conduct an on-site safety assessment, or determine same from previous site experience, prior to submitting a bid for a show.

An operator positioned to have the display within his sight shall ignite fireworks displays. Remote ignition systems not under direct control of the on-site operator will not be permitted. Details of any agreement relating to a variance to this item shall be decided on in conjunction with representatives of all entities involved in the approval of special events at the University of Florida.

The fireworks display contractor shall work within the limits specified in his approved bid submission. Electrical firing units shall be used for all displays and shall be manufactured for that purpose. Homemade electrical firing units are not permitted.

All displays shall be set up employing methods for interrupting firing in case an unforeseen danger becomes evident.

Organizations, Groups and Individuals

Organizations, groups and individuals sponsoring outdoor public display of fireworks shall do the following:

University administrative procedures require the producer/sponsor of a fireworks display to submit for approval a SPECIAL EVENTS FORM at least 45 days prior to any agreement is reached or contract signed for such events on the University of Florida campus. The form may be obtained at the Event Services Office in the Reitz Union, room 1005. Call (352) 392-1645 or (352) 392-1671 for information.

The following requirements must be included within all contracts:

The rules and regulations adopted by the University of Florida regarding firework displays shall be included in any contract entered into by the producer and/or sponsoring organization of each fireworks display on the University of Florida campus. This contract shall stipulate that the firms/individuals providing pyrotechnic displays meet all UF requirements plus applicable state, county and city laws or safety standards pertaining to licensure and permits, certifications of competency and display methods.

The sponsor of the pyrotechnics event or the contractor shall furnish a certificate of liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 naming the State of Florida, Florida Board of Education, Florida Board of Governors, University of Florida Board of Trustees and the University of Florida as additional insured’s.


Size/Type of Displays to be Permitted

  • Aerial displays shall not include free-floating devices or shells less than 3 inches in diameter unless they comply with third item below.
  • All ground displays shall be subject to approval by the University’s Division of Environmental Health and Safety, prior to assembly.
  • Aerial display devices smaller than 3 inches in diameter may be approved for displays at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field and on per request basis in other areas deemed safe by EH&S. These devices will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with supporting safety information provided by the pyrotechnic contractor. Multi-launch assemblies that utilize a cardboard or fiberboard structure often referred to as cakes will not be allowed unless encased in a rigid box enclosure, ¾ inch plywood or alternative material providing equivalent or greater rigidity. The enclosure shall be securely mounted.

Location and Security of Fireworks Display Sites

  • The discharge site of the fireworks display shall be located so that a minimum distance as specified by NFPA (see table is maintained from the mortar launch site to spectators, dwellings or spectator parking areas.

Figures and Code Text Copyright NFPA 1123 (2010)

Table Distances for Outdoor Aerial Shell Display Sites: Minimum Separation Distances from Mortars to Spectators for Land or Water Displays

Mortar Size1   Minimum Secured
Diameter of Site2
Vertical Mortars3 Angled Mortars
  1/3 Offset4
Mortars to
Special Hazards5
in mm ft m ft m ft m ft m
< 25  150  46 75  23  75  23  150  46 
1.5  38  210  64 105  32  75  23  210  64 
50  280  85 140  43 95  29  280  85 
2.5  63  350  107 175  54  115  35  350  107 
76  420  128 210  64  140  43  420  128 
4 102  560  171  280  85  190  58  560  171 
127  700  213  350  107  230  70  700  213 
152  840  256  420  128  280  85  840  256 
178  980  299  490  149  320  98  980  299 
203  1120  341  560  171  370  113  1120  341 
10  254  1400  427  700  213  460  140  1400  427 
12  305  1680  512  840  256  560  171  1680  512 

>12 in. requires approval of the authority having jurisdiction
a See 4.1.1
b See 5.1.3.
c See
d See Note that for angled mortars, the minimum secured diameter of the display site does not change. Only the location of the mortars within the secured area changes when the mortars are angled 
e See 5.1.4. Note that this is only the distance to the special hazards. The minimum secured diameter of the display does not change. 


Aerial shells, mines, and comets shall be classified and described only in terms of the inside diameter of the mortar from which they are fired [e.g., 3-in. (76-mm) aerial shells, mines, and comets are only for use in 3-in. (76-mm) mortars].

The site for the outdoor land or water display shall have at least a 70-ft/in. (22-m/2.5 mm) radius of internal mortar diameter of the largest aerial shell to be fired as shown in Table

No spectators or spectator parking areas shall be located within the display site.

Dwellings, buildings, and structures shall be permitted to be located within the display site with the approval of the authority having jurisdiction and the owner of the dwelling, building, or structure, if the dwelling, building, or structure is unoccupied during the display, or if the structure provides protection through substantial noncombustible or fire- resistant construction for the occupants. 

A. The presence of a modest number of trees and shrubs should not be considered a safety problem, provided that they are not so numerous as to make it significantly more difficult to locate unexploded aerial shells or to pose a serious fire safety threat.

A. Figure A. illustrates some of the requirements for a permitted display site where mortars are placed vertically, such as might be the case for an electrically ignited display.


A. Figure A. illustrates some of the requirements for a permitted display site where aerial shells are to be stored at the discharge site for subsequent loading into mortars during the display, such as might be the case for a manually ignited display.

Issued February, 2004; Revised/Reviewed February, 2012; July, 2019.