Pyrotechnic Artists of Texas (PAT) is the best place to learn about Pyro in Texas. You our PAT Events:
You should monitor our website and peruse our Facebook site to get an idea about our events:
Quite a few Texans attend PGI Conventions. If you’re really into pyro and have a bit of free time, it’s not to be missed. They have an extensive Youth Program during the Convention:
Listed below are some notes I’ve distributed previously, it provides an overview of Texas licensing requirements. This my understanding after 8-years working as a part-time professional in Texas and Oklahoma, contracting with professional Fireworks companies and also shooting for my own LLC. I have my SEO and FPO licenses and have been lead or co-lead shooter on about 60 displays (40-1.4G / 20-1.3G):
You’ll need to study NFPA and Texas Regulations:
NFPA 1126 for SEO Test - 1.4G "small or consumer fireworks"
NFPA 1123 for FPO Test - 1.3G "large or commercial fireworks"
Texas Code For Both Tests: http://www.tdi.texas.gov/fire/documents/fmstatfireworks.pdf
Texas Test Registration and Details:
You should get your Special Effects Operator (SEO) license, it just takes passing the test, which is over material in NFPA 1126 and the Texas Code. In Texas, you can buy and store 1.4G product subject only to local restrictions, like a City Ban. You can ignite a private display (less than 50 people and not for hire) of 1.4G product subject only to local firing restrictions. For a public display, either for hire or for more than 50 people, you must get the permission of the local AHJ, Authority Having Jurisdiction, typically the local Fire Chief or Marshall, and carry Fireworks Liability Insurance per the Texas Code, for that specific event. For such a public 1.4G display, you must follow the rules, one shooter must have their SEO license, crowd 200 feet away, 2 fire extinguishers min., permission of the AHJ, have the requisite insurance, shooters wearing hard hats and eye & ear protection, etc. Also, sometimes you might need a City or Park permit for a special event where required.
And if you’re doing it at a rural camp like Sky Ranch or a YMCA Camp, you’ll need the Camp Management permission and also add them as insured’s on your Liability insurance policy for the display.
For setting up and doing a 1.3G display yourself in Texas, even for one shell, you need to get your Fireworks Pyrotechnic Operator (FPO) license. You need 5 Sign Off’s on the license application, where the lead shooter of a Permitted 1.3G display signs the form and includes his FPO license number and the date of the display. There’s no point in registering for the test until you get the Sign Off’s. Once you have them, you take the Fireworks Pyrotechnic Operator test, pass it, and then you get your license. The test will be over material in NFPA 1123 and the Texas Code.
Now, buying, carrying, storing, and shooting 1.3G is complicated:
You should study the ATF “Orange Book”
You need a Federal BATF (ATF) explosives or fireworks license to buy 1.3G product and you need an ATF registered 1.3G Magazine to store 1.3G product to get your license. You can also get your BATF license if another licensed operator will allow you to have “contingency storage” in their registered magazine, they would track your inventory in their records. Operating your own magazine you would need to carefully track inventory and be ready for unannounced inspections by the ATF annually. Even for storing homemade 1.3G product overnight, you will need an ATF license and magazine (or contingency storage). You need a qualified Commercial Drivers License (CDL) with requisite HazMat insurance and public placarding in order to transport 1.3G product “in commerce". For ignition of any 1.3G product in Texas you need a State Display Permit, and Fireworks Liability Insurance is required to get the State Permit. You need AHJ permission and similar City or Park permission where required, similar to 1.4G.
The minimum annual charge for insuring any Public firework’s display, for insurance alone, is about $1600. per year, this would cover 2-Displays priced at $8k-$10k Retail Show Value. For doing more displays, $3,500 per year will cover about $40,000- $50,000. of Retail Show Value, ie. it would cover quan. 5 - $10,000. shows or 10 - $5000. shows per year. Whether 1.4G or 1.3G it doesn’t matter, only the estimated cost of the show matters for insurance. The most used company we’ve found is:
So, unless you are willing to buy insurance or someone else supplies it, you can’t really ever legally shoot 1.3G, even by yourself, in Texas. With your SEO and FPO licenses, you could be a lead shooter on Public 1.4G or 1.3G shows, respectively, for a professional company. With insurance, you could shoot a Public 1.4G or 1.3G show, and you could get a state permit for a 1.3G show. With an ATF license you could buy 1.3G product, then you could have a wholesaler drop ship (via HazMat carrier) the 1.3G product to your shoot location, and then you could shoot it. Storing the 1.3G would take ATF registration of a magazine or having contingency storage. Then you’d have to hire a HazMat carrier with their CDL & insurance to transport the product from your magazine to your shoot sites.
Whew, I love PAT so much! The established professionals have jumped through all these hoops and still allow new people to train and have fun with all sorts of product, including 1.3G but also using their ATF licenses to source and then supply materials that allow you to build shells and rockets. With PAT, you could eventually get your FPO Sign Off’s without needing to indenture yourself to one professional company, ie. - signing 2-year non-compete agreements to work their shows. There’s a bunch of professional display companies in Texas who don’t participate in PAT, and some actively discourage sharing fireworks information, like what PAT can teach you and some of what I’ve just written, since they don’t want any more competition.
The opinions and views above are my own, not PAT’s.