“Hey! Let’s go down to the fireworks store and buy the biggest baddest fireworks we can! This is going to be the best 4th of July ever!” Sounds great, but have you ever shot fireworks off before? “Well, no but it can’t be that hard!” It sounds pretty risky. Fireworks can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. “Well how can I reduce the risk?” GREAT question here are some tips to staying safe this 4th of July season.
In all reality, how often does a conversation like the one above occur between friends? 4th of July rolls around and suddenly everyone is a pyrotechnics expert. Fireworks are an indispensable part of 4th of July celebrations. However; when you decide to buy fireworks, it is necessary to take precautions in order to reduce the risk so everyone can enjoy them injury-free.
Know the Risks and Be Prepared
Injuries and accidents often occur because people underestimate the dangers posed by fireworks and don’t take proper safety precautions. In fact, a special study conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that more than half of fireworks-related injuries were the result of unexpected ignition of the device or consumers not using fireworks as intended. The bottom line is that all fireworks carry potential risks of burns, blindness and other injuries, but you can reduce the danger through proper planning and safety:
- Make sure the site is suitable for your display and check weather reports both before and on the day of the event.
- Contact your local authorities to keep them informed of your plans and give them plenty of advance notice.
- Arrange for the proper delivery, storage and use of your fireworks.
- Do not permit anybody other than the display operator and firing team into the firing zone and the safety zone around it. Keep spectators a safe distance away, preferably with barriers.
- Plan for what to do if things go wrong. Ensure you have enough fire extinguishers and buckets of sand or water ready in the event that something lights on fire. Designate someone to be responsible for contacting emergency services.
Be sure that you are complying with all applicable state and local laws. The laws regulate who can purchase and use fireworks, when they can be purchased, when they may be used and what the maximum noise levels may be. Under these regulations, the industry focus is not only on product safety but also on the reduction of accidents and injuries.
Insure Your Event
Regardless of whether you hire a professional fireworks display operator or release the fireworks yourself, you should first verify that your general liability policy will provide coverage for injuries or property damage caused by the fireworks. Other coverage to consider, depending on the nature of the event, are event cancellation insurance, weather insurance and special event insurance.
For more information about managing risks at your event, contact us today.