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Firework Displays - Safety and Insurance

As the organiser of a fireworks display your liability insurance is for the safety of spectators and staff present during the evening. We have brought together some of the main points you should consider when planning your event, to help reduce your risk and avoid a claim.

Venue

  • Ensure you have at least 50x50 metres area for the fireworks to be lit safely and another 100x50 metres allocated downwind clear of trees and vegetation, property and people.

  • Clearly mark your display area, no-go areas, safety barriers, spectator site and emergency exits.  Be ready to halt the firework display if these are not respected.

  • Young children must be monitored when using sparklers so a dedicated area should be made for their use. Provide safety instructions and buckets of water for their disposal.

  • Remember the event will take place at night.  Walkways, paths, steps and obstacles are much less obvious at night time for people who do not know the area.

  • Consider the parking arrangements, make sure stewards are briefed on traffic procedures during busy periods and that the access roads are clearly signed and diversions considered. Ensure routes between the parking areas and the event area are clearly marked.

Preparation advice

  • Plan for every eventuality. Make sure the firework safety stewards, staff and responsible persons are versed in emergency procedures for each scenario.

  • With your emergency procedures clearly defined you can also prepare the emergency announcements too.

  • Inform the relevant organisations about the event well in advance.  This includes the fire and police services, local council and residents of the area.

Staff

  • Firework safety stewards and staff should be highly visible and recognisable. Use Hi Vis clothing and well lit/signed stewards stations.

  • The Red Cross and St John Ambulance can advise and provide medical advice and assistance.

  • First aid - Make sure the first aid area is clear and accessible.  The designated first aider should be present and understand the firework display emergency procedures.  If someone is seriously hurt, the display should be halted immediately.

  • Make sure you have consulted with at least one person who has experience in firework safety or events during the planning process.

Weather

  • Wind direction will define where your display and spectator areas are.  Have clear plans for each layout according to the different directions and plans for last minute changes.

  • In strong winds larger rockets may be un-usable.  Have a contingency plan for your fireworks display.  Listen and trust the display professionals on these matters.

  • Could heavy wind or an unanticipated change in direction send smoke across a busy road or residential area?

Bonfire safety

  • If building a bonfire do not use petrol or any other flammable substances for lighting the fire. Only use purpose made fire-lighters.

  • Ensure the fire is stable and securely built (not too high or likely to fall to one side) with firefighting equipment and procedures in place.

  • Ensure fireworks and extra burning material is stored safely away from the bonfire.

About the author

Mike Stephens is a respected senior industry professional and Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) with well over 40 years’ varied experience in the commercial insurance sector as a director, underwriter, and operational improvement manager.

 

This list is intended to highlight some of the main points you should consider when organising such an event. We suggest you contact your local council and insurance provider well in advance of your event for full advice in your local area.

 

This is a marketing article by Towergate Insurance.

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