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FIREWORKS SAFETY FOR FIREFIGHTERS

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"We have cans," [Shawn Allison] said. "We can take care of that stuff." Or, they can wait until after the show, he added. "If there's only two minutes left to the end of the show, the brushfire isn't going anywhere."

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									 FIREFIGHTER TRAINING                                                                                                   >>>
 By ED BALLAM




                                                                                                                 W
                                                                                                                                      hen it comes to professional fireworks displays, there
   Keeping Yourself and
                                                                                                                                      are some important things firefighters need to know
   The Public Safe at                                                                                                                 to keep themselves and the public they are sworn to
                                                                                                                                      protect safe.
   Fireworks Displays
                                                                                                                      “Time, distance and shielding are firefighters’ best friends when it comes to
                                                                                                                 fireworks,” said Shawn Allison, a career fire captain and licensed pyrotechnician
                                                                                                                 who has developed a fireworks safety course explicitly for firefighters. To prove
                                                                                                                 his point, Allison fired a three-inch shell in a mortar at the Rochester, NH, fair-
                                                                                                                 grounds. A thunderous boom rang out and shards of high-density plastic pipe
                                                                                                                 and wood flew across the track infield, chased by a searing fireball and a plume
                                                                                                                 of gray gunpowder smoke.
                                                                                                                      “That was a catastrophic display failure,” said Allison, a 24-year career fire-
                                                                                                                 fighter and captain with the Merrimack, NH, Fire Rescue Department.
                                                                                                                      The three-inch salute, which is nothing more than black powder launched
                                                                      Courtesy of Dominick Bellio/Rochester FD




                                                                                                                 in the sky for a loud report with no color, detonated in a mortar rack, virtually
                                                                                                                 vaporizing the wood framing and the plastic pipe mortar. “If that doesn’t con-
                                                                                                                 vince you that you need to stay back, I don’t know what will,” Allison said.
                                                                                                                      Allison, a licensed pyrotechnician with Atlas PyroVision Productions in Jaf-
                                                                                                                 frey, NH, has developed what could be the only course of its kind in the nation
                                                                                                                 to teach fireworks safety to public safety responders. It’s a course taught by a fire-
                                                                                                                 fighter for firefighters. (Firehouse® Magazine and Firehouse.com attended one of
                                                                                                                 the classes. Look for expanded coverage, including photos, fireworks video and
           
								
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