14-48 – ​Use of Pyrotechnics and Blank Ammunition

Cadet Administrative and Training Orders (CATOs)


1. This order establishes the policy concerning use of blank ammunition or pyrotechnics within the Canadian Cadet Organizations (CCO).


2. For the purpose of this order, the following definitions apply:

  1. blank ammunition:  blank ammunition contains gunpowder, but no bullet or shot, and produces a flash and explosive sound (report) when fired. It is used to simulate rifle or field gun fire for training and/or ceremonial occasions; and
  2. pyrotechnics:  pyrotechnics are explosive devices that produce heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound.  They are used to support training.


3. The use of blank ammunition and/or pyrotechnics within the CCO is restricted.

4. It is a leadership responsibility to ensure that all safety and handling policies and orders are adhered to when blank ammunition and pyrotechnics are employed.


5. The Director Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers (D Cdts & JCR) is responsible for establishing policy regarding the use of pyrotechnics and blank ammunition by cadets.

6. The Regional Cadet Support Unit (RCSU) Commanding Officer (CO) is responsible for:

  1. authorizing the use of pyrotechnics and/or blank ammunition; and
  2. authorizing training and/or ceremonies relating to/involving the use of pyrotechnics and/or blank ammunition.

Note: Permission shall only be granted if qualified instructors are present at all times during the activity.

7. Use of pyrotechnics and/or blank ammunition by cadets may be authorized in the following circumstances only:

  1. when undergoing authorized training during international exchange or in a Cadet Summer Training Centre (CSTC);
  2. when participating in a special ceremony such as Feu de Joie (blank ammunition only);
  3. when pyrotechnics are required under a safety regulation issued by the Canadian Coast Guard, or the appropriate national or international body governing the safe operation of a water craft or ship;
  4. when undergoing authorized adventure training where requirement for emergency recovery or predator protection exists; and
  5. when undergoing authorized training with the Regular Force (Reg F) and/or the Primary Reserve (P Res).

Note: a cadet may only participate in authorized training with the Reg F and/or the P Res if two conditions are met: (a) parent/guardian approval is obtained; and (b) the cadet has attended a minimum of one lesson concerning blank ammunition and pyrotechnics safety conducted by Reg F and/or P Res qualified instructors


8. At all times the danger areas for use of blank ammunition and/or pyrotechnics shall be observed and respected.  Particular attention shall be given on those occasions when the activity is conducted within a confined area. In particular, the potential noise hazards to spectators and participants and damage to glass or other structural damage shall be considered.  Accordingly, whenever present, spectators (particularly civilians) shall be warned in advance when blank ammunition or pyrotechnics are to be utilized.

9. All safety precautions shall be observed during weapon handling; regardless of whether blank ammunition or live rounds are involved.  Blank ammunition shall be clearly identified as such and all safety measures shall be implemented to avoid possible confusion with live rounds.

10. If there is a concern that blank ammunition and/or pyrotechnics have been tampered with, or are in any way non-serviceable, the matter should be directed to qualified DND technical personnel for resolution.

11. The following are prohibited:

  1. firing, or attempting to fire, locally manufactured blank ammunition or pyrotechnics;
  2. modifying or attempting to modify blank ammunition or pyrotechnics; and
  3. use of blank ammunition or pyrotechnics for other than their designed purpose.

12. If cadets are to conduct an activity in a military training area where unexploded (dud) ammunition and/or pyrotechnics present a hazard, the cadets shall receive a safety briefing on the potential hazards and correct responses to those hazards.


13. Personnel shall only conduct blank ammunition and/or pyrotechnics training after having received appropriate safety instruction regarding the blank ammunition and pyrotechnics.  The safety instruction shall be provided by qualified instructors who, by virtue of either formal courses or a combination of unit training and experience, have sufficient knowledge to conduct such training.

14. It is not required that a Range Safety Officer (RSO) be present during activities involving the firing of blank ammunition and/or pyrotechnics.  However, all such activities shall be supervised by qualified instructors as described in paragraph 13 who shall closely supervise cadets at all times to ensure the maximum safety of cadets and/or spectators.


15. Except for model rocket pyrotechnics (in specific circumstances approved by D Cdts & JCR) only Department of National Defence (DND) supplied blank ammunition and/or pyrotechnics, in good serviceable condition, are authorized for use.

16. The following restrictions shall apply when using blank ammunition:

  1. a qualified instructor as described in paragraph 13 will perform the duties of the magazine loader and will examine each round by visual inspection to ensure that it is a blank round;
  2. blank rifle ammunition shall NOT be aimed NOR fired at personnel or structures;
    Note: This includes that blank ammunition shall NOT be fired inside any structure.
  3. the minimum danger area for blank rifle ammunition is 20 meters (in all directions);
  4. blank artillery ammunition for the .50 calibre saluting gun shall have a minimum danger area of 45 meters long by 15 meters wide (as measured from the barrel crown and centered on the axis of fire);
  5. prior to conducting training exercises with blank ammunition the Officer in charge of the training shall ensure that:
    (1)  the ammunition to be used for the exercise includes no bulleted rounds (ammo containing bullets or shot) and that it is then sealed in a container, and
    (2)  no bulleted rounds are carried by personnel or in vehicles or equipment to be used in the training; and
  6. blank ammunition misfires shall be treated exactly as per live ammunition misfire drills described in C-09-008-002/FP-000, Ammunition and Explosives Manual Destruction of Dud and Misfired Ammunition on CF Ranges and Training Areas.

Feu De Joie

17. “Feu de Joie” is described as a “gun salute”.  It employs the use of blank ammunition by cadets and is an established component of CSTC training. Annex A of this CATO provides specific instructions intended to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators during the conduct of Feu de Joie ceremonies.


Annex A

Feu de Joie

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OPI: D Cdts 4

Date:  Feb 10

Amendment:  Ch 5/10

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