Fire and explosions can be an exciting part of a Las Vegas stage show. To ensure that pyrotechnics are handled safely, Nevada requires professional licensing for people who handle them. Failing to follow state and local licensing and permitting requirements can lead to terrible accidents, not to mention serious legal consequences. Producers who are considering using pyrotechnics, and venues thinking about hosting their shows, should take a moment to understand the licensing rules.
Nevada pyrotechnics licensing requirements
The Nevada State Fire Marshal Division enforces Nevada’s pyrotechnics licensing program. The use of fire effects in shows falls under the rules governing commercial fireworks displays. Nevada requires anyone in the business of producing fireworks displays to hold a license. NAC 477.606. Regular licenses are only issued to persons who are at least 21 years old, though apprentice and assistant licenses are available to anyone 18 or older.
The licensing process requires applicants to provide information about their training and experience with pyrotechnics as well as their proposed safety procedures. The licensee is required to wear safety gear while producing a pyrotechnics display, as described in the 2010 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code of Fireworks Display. Applicants also must provide the fire marshal with an insurance certificate showing that they have the minimum coverage required in NAC 477.618.
State pyrotechnics licenses can be revoked if the licensee injures someone or creates a fire hazard at the performance location or where equipment is stored. Licensees are required to notify the fire marshal of any injury or fire they cause. NAC 477.646.
Categories of pyrotechnics licenses
Nevada separates its licensing requirements for pyrotechnics into several categories. Each category has its own requirements and rules.
- Fire performers are entertainers like jugglers who use open flames as part of their act. To be licensed, fire performers must complete a safety course and at least 40 hours of training. NRS 477.223, NAC 477.630.
- Magicians use materials like flash paper or powder smoke in their performances. Magicians may only use such materials within twelve feet of themselves. NAC 477.620.
- Pyrotechnic operators run fireworks displays. They begin as assistant pyrotechnic operators, who to be licensed must pass a written exam covering N.F.P.A. standards for the storage and use of fireworks. They must also submit endorsements from two licensed operators and proof of employment. Holders of assistant licenses are only permitted to work under the supervision of a fully licensed individual. A licensed assistant pyrotechnic operator can obtain a full operator license by passing a written exam and submitting evidence of experience. NAC 477.622 to 628.
- Flame effects operators are licensed to use a specific fuel type (natural gas, propane, or solids) for creating flame effects in front of an audience. Flame effects operators must first be licensed as flame effects assistants. The assistant license process requires passing a written exam on fire safety procedures, the submittal of endorsements from two licensed flame effects operators, and evidence of employment as a flame effects assistant. NAC 477.631 to 633.
Local licensing laws
In addition to complying with the state fire marshal’s requirements, a pyrotechnics operator also must comply with local licensing laws. Las Vegas requires permits for any commercial display of fireworks, open flame effects, or fire performances. The city requires permit holders to carry minimum insurance that is twice the minimum required by state licensing rules. The insurance policy must name the city as an additional insured. Las Vegas Fire & Rescue personnel must be present during performances.
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has called Las Vegas home for over 40 years. From licensing problems to injuries caused by negligent operators, we are here to answer your questions. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476, or send us a request on our contact page.