According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Council, over 10,000 serious injuries were caused by fireworks in 2014 and of those, 67% were treated between June 20 and July 20, 2014. If your public entity is planning a 4th of July fireworks show, OneBeacon Government Risks wants you to be prepared. Below are six tips to help prepare for your event:
- Insurance: Chances are your government insurance policy excludes fireworks. If you purchase a separate event policy, check the coverage for fireworks displays. If you contract with a licensed operator, request they list your public entity as an Additional Insured on their general liability policy.
- Hire Professionals: It goes without saying that fireworks are dangerous. To prevent unnecessary risk, DO NOT attempt to put on your own display. Hire a licensed operator with employees who have gone through extensive training and received appropriate certifications. In doing so, you may be able to contractually transfer your risk to the display operator.
- Permits: Permits are required for fireworks displays. You can obtain a permit by visiting your state government’s website.
- Fallout Area: The fallout area is the space where fireworks or shells may potentially fall. Before the show, map out the site with a licensed operator. Ensure that during the show there are no spectators, vehicles or combustibles in the fallout area.
- Spotters and Distance: With unpredictable weather and winds, the fallout area from the fireworks is not always static. Having spotters on hand during the display can help determine if crowds need to move with weather changes. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends there be at least 500 feet between the placement of fireworks and the crowd. Although the size of the fireworks you use can have an impact on this, it is a safe bet to stick to 500 feet as the minimum.
- NFPA: The National Fire Protection Association is a great resource. You can review the NFPA 1123: Code for Fireworks Display, 2014 Edition for more information on how to protect the safety of workers and spectators at a fireworks display.
Although these tips are not all inclusive, they will help your public entity prepare for an enjoyable and safe 4th of July celebration.