MASON CITY, Iowa - If you have been in Mason City this week, you have likely seen or heard the explosion of fireworks from the PGI Convention. With thousands of people making their way to the North Iowa Events Center this week, the PGI has safety protocols in place for both manufacturers and spectators.
Ned Gorski has been making shells and large rockets throughout the convention.
"The rockets go about 500 ft. high, the 12 in. shells go about 1000-1200 ft. high."
But while building these may look interesting, it can pose a safety hazard.
"There's a distance between each work station, we minimize the exposure at our work stations, so if I have a little accident when I'm working on something, it doesn't set a whole lot of other explosives or flammables off," Gorski said. "We're always wearing safety glasses. I keep a bucket of water near me just in case if something starts burning or my hands are burnt or something, I'll put them in the water, although I've never had an accident like that."
Dianne Hauschild works the safety table for the manufacturing facility on the grounds, which has limited access during the convention. She says there is also a protocol visitors must follow other than just wearing safety glasses.
"We tell them where the exits are, front and back of the building, right and left of the building. And if anything would happen in the building, which we hope doesn't, we ask them to get out as fast as they can."
And Gorski notes that there are safety teams throughout the grounds.
"Whether it's the manufacturing area, or the B Line where they shoot the shells, or the rocket line where they shoot the rockets, the safety team is then divided into individual teams that maintain the safety of practices in those areas."
For those coming out to the displays, there are distance requirements between spectators and certain displays; this is in order to meet or exceed National Fire Protection Association codes. Also, it is recommended for spectators, especially those under the age of 18, to wear hearing and eye protection.