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Planning, building, loading: A look behind the scenes of firework shows

A pyrotechnician breaks down the steps it takes to put firework shows together.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — As firework shows happen across the area, there's a lot that goes into putting them together to ensure they are both beautiful and safe. 

Marc Davis is the lead operator for the MidCity District's pyro show and he says the preparations start with building and construction. 

"[It starts by] taking the mortar racks and grouping those by whichever show you have…and the particular set up of the show and then staging those on the site in the order they should be staged in and according to the firing diagram." 

The technicians then nail everything together after constructing the formation. Then the show day is,  "primarily an explosive operation day where we are actually dropping the shells, wiring them, fusing them and wiring them into the controllers."

So, how are these things actually wired?

"The blue wire over here…that's what's called a 'black match' or a 'quick match'...the black powder match is in the blue sheathing and that runs down to the match holder, which is the clear plastic piece, and then that runs down to the red wire."

And the red wire is really important, "it has a little ball of explosive on the end of the red wire and when the controller wants to shoot that que or that rack it puts a voltage across the end of that wire and so as soon as this wire gets hit with a voltage, this will shoot out about a 3 inch flame and it'll light the traditional black powder."

And despite all of these wires involved, Davis actually commands the show through a controller.

"I shoot the show wireless, and this can give me a status indication of everything I have out here."

This specific show was choreographed to music and the set-up involved close to 20 people. 

Davis is excited to be out here doing what he loves for you to enjoy.

"It's something that I have a passion for…doing it and doing it safely so I appreciate the ability to come out here and be next to these racks and make sure everything happens right."

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