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Fireworks are a feast to a crowd’s eyes every holiday. However, the loud booms and bangs are not as welcome as the colors, and they can make animals feel traumatized and scared. Are silent fireworks a good option?
Fireworks can almost never be made completely silent. Instead, they are considered much quieter than standard fireworks. Totally silent fireworks aren’t really possible and typically require some kind of noise to flare up – but it won’t be anywhere near the level of normal fireworks.
This article will explore the concept of silent fireworks, also known as quiet or low-noise fireworks. You’ll discover how they are made, how soft they can get, and their alternatives.
Are Silent Fireworks a Thing?
Traditional holidays, like the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve, are barely complete without a grandiose display of fireworks. However, it’s not an enjoyable experience for everyone because of the loud noises. Those that can be negatively affected by such noises include:
- Wildlife and farm animals
- Individuals in the autism spectrum
- War veterans and those with PTSD
In consideration of those affected, there has been a great demand to shift from traditional to “silent” fireworks. They are touted as a great alternative – the same spectacular show of colors but without the large booms.
Silent fireworks are a thing, but they do require some noise. They are not mute, as per the definition of silent. Instead, they are low-noise fireworks and are not novel technology. Silent fireworks displays use quiet pyrotechnics to create a quiet show compared to standard fireworks.
Some suppliers, like Chorlton Fireworks and Fireworks Kingdom, explicitly state that silent pyrotechnics are impossible. Instead, silent fireworks are the background fireworks typically used in standard fireworks shows, there to create a backdrop rather than for fantastic displays.
Examples of such “silent” fireworks are:
- Catherine wheels
- Colorful stars/comets
- Comet tail
- Crackling mines
- Crossette cakes
- Flying fish
- Roman candles
- Smoke fireworks
How Loud Are Silent Fireworks?
As I’ve emphasized, silent fireworks are not silent. They have to emit a certain noise level, but this is not as intense as the traditional ones. So how loud can they get?
Silent fireworks can emit sounds that register from 70 to 120 decibels. Traditional fireworks can go as high as 170 decibels, so there’s a significant difference.
Even so, the audiences of silent fireworks displays would remark that the pyrotechnics are still loud. Aside from that, personal testimonies from town officers in Banff, Alberta (Canada) stated that noise from “silent” fireworks would still “echo off the surrounding mountains.”
So, although “silent” fireworks can be considered low noise or quiet compared to traditional fireworks, they are still considerably loud. Thus, whichever term suppliers use, it is still quite misleading, which is why some cities, like the Halifax council, did not approve their use.
Instead, they pushed for proper announcements ahead of any fireworks display, whether silent or not. In this way, people in the community can prepare accordingly.
How Do Silent Fireworks Work?
Unlike stereos or phones, fireworks don’t come with volume adjuster buttons and settings. So, how could manufacturers make pyrotechnics with decibels around a half lower than their traditional counterparts?
Some silent fireworks were designed to shoot for shorter heights. Thus, they expend less lift charge or power to reach such altitudes. This inevitably leads to softer sound effects, as the power and noise are often correlated for fireworks.
Another way silent fireworks work is by having softer shells and gentler bursts. If you observe, fireworks explode as they reach the sky. This explosion is more powerful and louder when the shell is more rigid because it needs more force to be broken.
Thus, by having softer shells, fireworks expend less force or power, leading to lower noise. Besides that, some suppliers also remove the salute element, which causes a characteristic flash and bang.
Due to these limitations, silent fireworks aren’t considered ideal for exciting shows. If you want a quieter experience, the displays won’t be as big and varied as standard shows.
This means that silent fireworks are ideal for small gatherings, but perhaps not huge public holidays with many thousands of people present for the display. In this case, there would have to be more fireworks display schedules to accommodate everyone.
However, now that more people are leaning towards silent fireworks and manufacturers are becoming competitive, there may come a time when fireworks could be made tolerable for everyone – human or animal.
What Are Alternatives to Fireworks?
Whether your community has silent or traditional fireworks displays, they will emit noise. But if there could be an alternative, what would it be?
An emerging alternative to fireworks is drone shows. They make an impressive show of colors but without the bang and kaboom characteristic of fireworks.
For instance, drones can be coordinated or programmed to create fantastic images in the sky. Their reusability and creative flexibility have made them more popular through the years.
If you want to see how these drone shows work, check out this YouTube video of a drone show in Imperial Beach for the Fourth of July:
However, because they’re part of an emerging industry, drone shows are typically more expensive than fireworks. However, rates may become more competitive in the future.
Soundproof Your Home
Although not strictly an alternative to fireworks, you can also soundproof your home. Thus, you and your household would not have to be too powerless and traumatized when the traditional or silent crackers hit the sky.
Thankfully, soundproofing doesn’t have to be too expensive. In fact, there are DIY methods for reducing the volume of noise that penetrates a room, such as:
- Adding and arranging furniture.
- Laying down carpets and rugs.
- Sealing gaps in doors, windows, and walls.
- Installing weatherstripping on doors and windows.
- Installing soundproof curtains.
As mute fireworks are still impossible and people are yet unwilling to let go of traditional fireworks displays, soundproofing your home is a practical alternative to protect your pets or loved ones.
Thus, while these DIY methods can help a bit, it’s always good to seek professional help.
Silent fireworks refer to fireworks that emit low noise levels compared to traditional ones. Thus, despite the name, they are not entirely mute but are quieter compared to the usual pyrotechnics. However, they still emit a loud noise, affecting sensitive animals and individuals.