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Will Quieter, Safer Drone Shows Soon Replace National Day Fireworks?

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Slattington, Pa. — The Fourth of July is usually the best time for Chris Hopkins to work in the fireworks industry.

As Slaton-based creative director and co-owner celebration fireworksOn Monday afternoon, Hopkins was out in the field preparing the festival display.

But he’s also getting calls about another aspect of his business — a business that thrives more than the sky is filled with fireworks.

  • Chris Hopkins is creative director at Celebration Fireworks and co-owner of Star Flight Drone Shows
  • He believes drones are the next big thing, but doesn’t want to see them completely replace fireworks
  • Instead, Hopkins’ vision is to create a “different experience that people have never seen before,” combining fireworks, laser lights and drones in one show

“I do believe drones are the next big thing,” Hopkins said, referring to unmanned aircraft systems used to create magical, synchronized aerial formations in the sky.
More and more people are clamoring for drone shows, which are quieter and safer than fireworks, and Hopkins has the ability to make it happen.he too Star Flying Drone Showin the same location as the Celebration Fireworks.

“We want to take these [drones] “Get the message out to people, get them to the event, and do great things,” Hopkins said.

“I do believe that, and they are inherently more accessible than fireworks in terms of venues, communities and regulation.”

drive change

Hopkins’ assessment comes as the Fourth of July marks the start of the Commonwealth of Freedom Passage of a new law restricts the use of consumer fireworks.

although Lehigh Valley Still Has Plenty of Exhibits Scheduledthere has recently been a push to consider greener, safer options.

Hopkins said he was well aware of the push.

“Fireworks go through a lot of hoops, and then you have to keep an eye out for your neighbors.”

Chris Hopkins celebrating fireworks

“If I’m going to do a fireworks show, I have to get a local permit, I have to get coverage from the local fire company,” he said. “Depending on where we do the fireworks show and what state we do it in, we might have to have a state permit certificate.”

“Fireworks go through a lot of hoops, and then you have to keep an eye out for your neighbors.”

That’s because what draws some people to the show—especially the booming sound—is also a drawback for others.

“They’re visceral in nature. Explosions, lights, and sometimes smells,” says Hopkins. Virtually all of your senses are affected by fireworks. So that’s something we have to worry about. “

What do fireworks and wildfire smoke have in common

Fireworks, especially those set off without the supervision of a trained professional, can cause injury and death.

Last year, more than 10,000 people were treated in emergency rooms and 11 people died from fireworks-related injuries, according to the CPSC. 2022 Fireworks Annual Reportshowing why fireworks should be left to the professionals.

Of these, 38 percent were burns, with hands and fingers being the most seriously injured body parts, the report said.

But the health effects of fireworks on residents and the environment go beyond burns.

When lit, the fireworks release pollutants similar to what the Lehigh Valley experienced when Canadian wildfire smoke blew into the region this summer, first in early juneThen last week again.

experts say Residents expect more smog all summer.

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are tiny particles in the air that, at elevated concentrations, reduce visibility and cause the air to become cloudy, According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

This is a type of air pollution that can cause serious health problems.

Because the particles are very small, they are easily inhaled into the lungs of residents, causing breathing difficulties. The smaller the particle, the deeper it can travel into the lungs and bloodstream.

Fireworks, like wildfire smoke, can cause widespread air pollution in a short period of time. A 2021 study found that Up to 600% increase in particle concentration measurements After the National Day fireworks display in downtown Minneapolis compared to the night before.

State officials warned residents ahead of the holiday that fireworks are also a catalyst for wildfires. So far this year, 1,400 wildfires have been reported statewide, compared with 1,036 for all of 2022.

“We’ve seen wildfire risk continue to rise this year, forcing our volunteers and wildland firefighters to fight an unprecedented number of fires this year,” DCNR State Secretary Cindy Dunn said.

“With this in mind, we are asking the public to take all necessary precautions to protect federal lands during the upcoming holiday season as we continue to see dry weather that makes wildfires more likely from fireworks and other fire risks.”

a fulcrum, a plan

Hopkins said he sees municipalities changing tack and using drones instead of fireworks, but those decisions still give him hesitation.

“People talk about ‘will drones replace fireworks?'” I think not. I hope not,” he said. “I think they’re very different experiences.

“For me, as someone whose job it is to present music through fireworks, I’m very picky about how that sound looks, right?”

“Will drones replace fireworks? I don’t think so. I hope not. I think they’re very different experiences.”

Chris Hopkins, who worked on the Celebration Fireworks and Celebrity Flying Drone Show

Hopkins says that fireworks can properly amplify the emotion and energy in a song, but sometimes those concussive explosions can get in the way of other types of music.

“Personally, I don’t think fireworks work well with these sounds,” he said. “So synthesizers are great for lasers. So that’s when we introduced lasers.”

All of these elements — fireworks, lasers, and drones — drove him towards a new goal, Hopkins said: combining the three to create “the next form of entertainment.”

“We’re still new to drones, but I think by the fall we’ve targeted a couple of shows where we’re going to try to bring all those elements together and hopefully not shoot down the drones,” he said.

“You have to make everything work.”

“Of course, we’d love to”

Hopkins said now is a good time to be aggressive and build awareness on the business side. But he said he sees a lot of room for drones and fireworks to work together.

“Our fireworks display is very different,” he said. “We’re very committed to connecting with our audience and bringing shows that people haven’t seen before, especially as it relates to music.

“It’s a phenomenal art form, and it’s so powerful…you really have to like it [at] This moment. “

“We’re basically starting from scratch, so we have to raise awareness. So if sometime we’re going to do a show for a fireworks client, I’ll call him up and say, ‘Hey, you’d like to see a free wireless show. Man-machine show? ” [And they say] ‘certainly. We are happy to do so. ‘”

Chris Hopkins, Creative Director and Co-Owner, Celebration Fireworks

And drones?

“We’re basically starting from scratch, so we have to build awareness,” he said. “So, if sometimes we have a fireworks client and we’re doing a show for them, I call him up and say, ‘Hey, would you like to see a free drone show after that?

“[And they say] ‘certainly. We will love it.

“People loved it. We got a great response from it, it allowed us to gain more experience and create better shows, and learn how to connect better with our audience.

“I couldn’t be happier with the audience connection we’ve been able to build in such a short amount of time.

“I’m really excited about the future and where the two will come together. I can’t wait to sit down and start creating different experiences that people haven’t seen before.”



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