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Specialists in Heavy Weapon Blanked Firearms and Pyro Special Effects for the entertainment industry since 1985

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Pyrotechnical Services


From time to time, we get calls from productions requesting information on purchasing explosives for theatrical use. To this, our answer is "Sorry, we don't sell to unlicensed entities. We are licensed professionals who exclusively use our stock. If you have a California-based production and want to film in New York, we will receive shipments from outside pyrotechnic suppliers and will "HIRE" your out-of-state licensed pyrotechnicians as sub-contractors under our licenses and permits. This service is for California Class A Pyros only.

If you are not licensed for pyrotechnic use within New York State, please consider using our services.

pyro on-set

As of October 4th. 2009, the enactment date of the latest licensing rule.

1.        The production’s NYS Licensed Pyrotechnician MUST be present at all times when any low or high explosives or pyrotechnic devices are present.

2.       He MUST have in his possession a Pyrotechnicians License to show to any law enforcement officer or NYS DoL Inspector who requests to see such.

3.       He MUST possess at a minimum, a Class C Pyrotechnicians license due to the proximate attendance of actors as well as film production crew members.

4.       If the NYS licensed Pyrotechnician has under his control, low and/or high explosives (black powder / Black Powder mixed with aluminum powder, Detonation Cord, Non-Electric SHOCK Tube, etc), he is to have such stored inside a regularly inspected (by NYS DoL Inspectors) and licensed Type 4 (ATF-approved) locking Explosives Magazine (vehicle mounted and secured to prevent unauthorized removal of contents or entire “magazine”).

5.       In addition to the above referenced magazine, an additional so-inspected and licensed magazine would be required for the storage of “Initiators/Detonators” if they contain any amount of explosives.

6.       For the on-site assembly of the required pyrotechnic devices (lifting charges/ flash powder packs / Sand Mortars / Gasoline Bombs, etc) a clean work area with all the prerequisite safety precautions in-place would be required. No excess low explosive powders or scrap DET-cord can be left un-attended. No more than the amount required to produce one device MAY be removed from the magazine at a time.

7.       Depending on the total amount of explosives present, the ATF-Table of Distances would apply.

8.       For any magazines within the state of New York, they have to have been continually inspected by NYS DoL inspectors and approved by ATF inspectors. The owner of record of such “portable” magazines MUST be NYS-licensed as a Dealer/Manufacturer. A copy of the NYS DoL “Explosives Magazine Certificate” MUST be produced at the request of any law enforcement officer and/or NYS DoL inspector.   

Samples of a NYS Pyrotechnicians License and a NYS Dealer/Manufacturers License
Sample of a NYC FDNY Certificate of Fitness

Sample of a Explosives Magazine Certificate

Explosives, special effects, open flame and/or pyrotechnics are carefully monitored for use, storage and transportation and only permitted under strict supervision by the NYS Fire Marshal’s Office - Explosive Unit and the NYS Dept. of Labor – Explosives Unit. The Explosives Unit, a specialized unit within the Bureau of Fire Prevention, carefully regulates the use, storage and transportation of special effects and pyrotechnics for motion pictures, theatre and television.

  • This information is intended to provide technical and general information for non-local industry professionals and the general public.
    • The use of firecrackers, sparklers or any other fireworks is illegal in NYS unless a permit is issued under special conditions.
    • It is illegal to have theatrical pyrotechnic devices in your possession in NYS unless you have a NYS DoL permit and are certified Pyrotechnicians. Further information can be obtained by calling the NYS Dept. of Labor - Explosives Unit at (516) 228-3960.
    • It is illegal for you to have theatrical pyrotechnic devices in your possession in NYC unless you have a NYFD Fireworks Permit and are a NYFD certified Pyrotechnician. NYFD-SF/X Requirements Further information can be obtained by calling the New York City Fire Department- Explosives Unit at 718-999-1595
  • Immediately notify the NYSP or the local Police Department if you are aware of the possession or the use of illegal fireworks, sparklers, or other similar devices.
  • Nationwide, in the year 2005, illegal fireworks caused over 18,000 serious injuries (8,500 to children under 14 yrs. of age). Many of these injuries are permanent.


  • What is a “special effect?”
    • A special effect is a visual or audible effect used for entertainment purposes, often used to create an illusion. For example, smoke can be produced to create the impression of fog. A flash of light and a loud sound can create the impression that a cannon has been fired.
  • Why does the NYS DoL regulate the use of special effects in NYS?
    • Using special effects anywhere is dangerous, especially in an area such as
      Long Island. Improper use or storage creates risk to individuals and property.
      Another concern is panic created by fire, noise and smoke caused by the effect.
  • What is the process to get approval for pyrotechnics for my film?
    - Applicants are instructed to submit the following documents for permit consideration:
    • Letter of Intent on production company letterhead.
    • Letter of Consent from the Property Owner granting permission for pyrotechnics to be used.
    • Film Permit from the Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting, and the Township where the effects will take place. They must approve any production within their jurisdiction.
    • Certificate of Insurance.
    • Name of the NYS DoL Licensed Pyrotechnicians.
    • Description of Effect.
    • Type, weight and hazard level of pyrotechnics.
    • Other Pertinent Information as may be required.
  • Who is authorized to legally supervise and perform as a Pyrotechnicians for  any use of special effects in New York State?
    • Someone who possesses a New York State Dept. of Labor “D/M – Explosives” license. You can call them to get a list of qualified NYS Licensees.
  • Must I contact any other agency for authorization other than the Fire Marshal?
    • Yes, if you are filming, you will need a film permit issued by that county’s Office of Film Production) or Local police department’s Production Assistance Unit. They must approve any production within their jurisdiction.
We are the largest supplier of INERT Improvised Explosive Devices in the USA - Click this link

December 2009 Explosives Industry Newsletter

Recording Explosive Materials “Used”

Federal regulations at 27 CFR 555.123(d) require licensed manufacturers who manufacture explosive materials for their own use to enter in a separate record, not later than the close of the next business day following the date of use: (1) the date of use; (2) the quantity (in applicable quantity units); and (3) a description of the explosive materials used. This record is separate and distinct from the disposition record requirements for explosive materials under 555.123(c).

However, licensed manufacturers are exempt from the 555.123(d) recordkeeping requirement if the explosive materials are manufactured for the licensee’s own use and are used within a 24 hour period at the same site.

Similarly, regulations at 27 CFR 555.124(c) require licensed dealers to record in a separate record any explosive materials used by the dealer, not later than the close of the next business day following the date of use by the dealer. This record must include: (1) the date of use; (2) the name or brand name of the manufacturer and name of importer (if any); (3) the manufacturer’s marks of identification; (4) the quantity (in applicable quantity units); and (5) a description of the explosive materials used. Licensees with questions about their particular recordkeeping requirements should contact their local ATF office.

2009 ATF Explosives Industry Newsletter

Day Boxes

ATF conducts an annual review of all explosive materials thefts that have occurred throughout the nation. Through ATF’s evaluation, explosives licensees and permittees who were victims of such thefts have indicated that many of these crimes, and their accompanying financial loss, could have been avoided by ensuring their adherence to Federal explosives storage regulations. For example, in 2007, 16 detonators were stolen from a day box left unattended overnight in a vehicle.

Federal explosives regulations at 27 CFR 555.203 allow for the temporary, attended storage of high explosives in a type 3 magazine, also known as a “day-box”. These magazines must be fire-resistant, weather-resistant, and theft-resistant. However, while 27 CFR 555.209 provides details concerning construction and locking requirements, using a proper lock may only protect a day-box from unwanted entry. A proper lock will not prevent theft of the day-box itself. During inspections, ATF has discovered explosives that were left in unattended day-boxes for days or weeks at a time. Explosive materials may not be stored unattended in type 3 magazines but must be removed to type 1 or type 2 magazines for unattended storage. The practice of storing explosives in an unattended day-box is not only a violation of Federal explosives regulations, but it also exposes the day-box and the explosives stored therein to theft and illegal use.


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