NDP 2019: Heartlands fireworks display no easy job

The fireworks will be mounted at heartland sites on Saturday morning, giving teams just five hours to set them up, lay wires and run tests.
The fireworks will be mounted at heartland sites on Saturday morning, giving teams just five hours to set them up, lay wires and run tests.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Military Expert 5 Tommy Chaw, who is in charge of the Bishan fireworks display, said the organisers wanted to make it special for Singaporeans during the bicentennial year.
Military Expert 5 Tommy Chaw, who is in charge of the Bishan fireworks display, said the organisers wanted to make it special for Singaporeans during the bicentennial year.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - National Day is set to make a bigger bang than usual, with five fireworks displays planned for heartland sites in addition to the main event at the Padang.

The four-minute extravaganzas will be staged at Bishan, Wisma Geylang Serai, Jurong East, Punggol and Woodlands on Saturday (Aug 10), one day after the National Day Parade.

It will be first time in more than 10 years that the heartlands will host National Day fireworks displays by the National Day Parade fireworks committee.

But it is no easy task and there are no rehearsals prior to the big day.

Military Expert 5 (ME5) Tommy Chaw, who is in charge of the Bishan display, said: "We cannot move the fireworks earlier because most of the team will be busy before Saturday with parade preparations."

The fireworks will be mounted at heartland sites on Saturday morning, giving teams just five hours to set them up, lay wires and run tests.

Despite the tight schedule, ME5 Chaw said all safety measures will have been taken.

"All the sites have gone through the necessary technical checks, the fireworks have gone through factory acceptance tests and have been endorsed by a safety board," he added.

 
 
 
 

ME5 Chaw noted that one of the challenges in the heartlands is that the public will be a lot closer to the action than at the Padang.

"That means we have more restrictive safety regulations and cannot fire as many different types of fireworks as we can at the parade."

Fireworks in the heartlands can go as high as 120m, well under the 180m for the parade.

Around 60 people, including Singapore Armed Forces personnel and contractors, will be working on the heartlands displays.

ME5 Chaw says the sites and the parade will use similar fireworks and the same team of external contractors so conditions will be similar.

"The SAF personnel at the heartlands are not those working on the parade, but they all have three to six years of experience working with fireworks displays, so they are familiar with the process," he added.

More than 10,000 spectators are expected to be at each site, which will also host carnivals and visits by the mobile column.

ME5 Chaw said: "This is Singapore's bicentennial year so we wanted to make it special and bring the display to Singaporeans."