If you hear a lot of explosions near the University of Tennessee this afternoon, don't duck.
Don't even worry.
It won't be al-Qaida, Florida fans or some other terrorist group setting off bombs.
It will be a testing of Neyland Stadium as a potential new site for launching the fireworks that traditionally accompany Vol touchdowns.
The old site, along the south bank of Fort Loudoun Lake, will become unavailable when development of a nearby marina and condominiums is completed, said Lansden Hill, president of Pryo Shows, the LaFollette firm that has handled touchdown fireworks displays for 20 years.
The state fire marshal's office, Knoxville Fire Department and University of Tennessee Police Department will be present for today's tests, UT spokesman Jay Mayfield said.
Tests will begin around 5 p.m. and should conclude by 5:20, Hill said.
"They want to test what that will look and sound like in advance of the season," Mayfield said.
"We will test a variety of pyrotechnics from several locations around the stadium to see if any of them offer any possibility of being a substitute for what we do now," Hill said. "There will be some loud noises. You can guarantee that the pigeons will be getting their exercise."
Fire codes prohibit use of the old site once the marina is in use and the condos occupied.
"There are fewer and fewer places where we can safely - and safety is always a consideration - fire the size of fireworks we've been using from the south bank," Hill said. "So it's either move farther down river, or out into the river, or do something else."
Last year, Pyro Shows experimented with a floating platform attached to the riverbank.
"We could always shoot from a barge out on the river, but that would drastically increase the cost because you have to pay for the barge," Hill said. "And that would potentially impair normal traffic up and down the river. Because of the impediment to water traffic, we wanted to explore the idea of doing things from the stadium itself, which would be similar to what we have done for NFL teams and some bowl games for the last few years," Hill said.
In addition to safety, other considerations include how impressive an effect can be produced from the stadium at how much of a cost.
Ultimately, Hill said, UT officials and corporate sponsors will have to weigh those and many factors to reach a decision.
Jim Balloch may be reached at 865-342-6315.