Fireworks displays and shows are a popular outdoor attraction, especially during the summer months. Aside from the Fourth of July, fireworks can also be found at weddings, picnics, music festivals, children’s parties, family reunions and at other gatherings or public events. Religious organizations, schools, camps and senior living facilities may consider fireworks displays to entertain their members, students, campers or residents, but before joining in on the fun, organizers should first consider the safety of their attendees and property.
Fireworks can present a potential for injury for those using or watching a fireworks display. Improper use of fireworks can result in serious burns or wounds to bystanders or to the person(s) igniting them. Fires may even start if fireworks or falling debris land on flammable material or nearby under-brush. To avoid injury or property damage from fireworks, familiarize yourself with the following important safety procedures.
Fireworks are readily available to all consumers, but do you know what to look for when purchasing them for your organization?
- Only purchase legal fireworks from licensed distributors.
- Check your state and local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
Church Mutual customers can also contact their customer service team to verify coverage for fireworks activities.
Many organizations decide to sell fireworks as a fundraising activity. Should your organization decide to open or provide staffing for a fireworks stand, consider the following points:
- Make sure the individuals in charge of the stand have obtained the necessary permits as defined by your state’s laws.
- Verify your stand is following fire safety practices such as posting “no smoking” signs, having fire extinguishers readily available, and ensuring proper means of egress in case of emergency.
- Keep additional safety precautions in mind such as ensuring volunteer safety, maintaining ample supervision, and providing adequate parking.
Aerial fireworks have the potential to be hazardous to users and viewers alike and should only be set off by professionals.
- Use a professional, licensed contractor for all aerial fireworks.
- Instruct the licensed contractor to name your organization as an additional insured on their insurance policy.
- Always alert emergency services prior to any fireworks displays.
- Obtain, and display, permits as required.
Viewing fireworks is often a fun-filled activity for many people, but both hosts and viewers need to practice safety awareness during fireworks displays to avoid accidents or injury.
Viewer Safety Tips:
- All participants should keep a safe distance from the firing platform and falling debris.
- Viewers should be aware of their surroundings and avoid tripping hazards by carrying a light source, such as a flashlight.
- Carry a safety toolkit, including:
- Bug spray
- Earplugs for small children
Host Safety Tips:
- Create an evacuation plan for all viewers.
- Consider weather elements, such as wind and moisture levels, before a fireworks show.
- Have a safety toolkit available, including:
- Fire extinguishers
- First aid supplies
- Cellphone(s) to contact emergency services
Considerations for Ground Items
Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Ground displays, such as sparklers, firecrackers, and other novelties, can appear harmless, but in reality they cause more injuries than any other type of fireworks. For example, the CPSC says that sparklers can reach temperatures of over 2,000 degrees and lead to 19% of all fireworks injuries!
- Avoid combustible materials
- Never use indoors
- Never allow small children to use fireworks
- Always have adult supervision
- Always have an extinguishing source nearby, such as water
Make sure your organization disposes of your unused or spent fireworks appropriately to avoid accidental injury when cleaning up after your event.
- Treat all fireworks as if they are still “live”.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down with water.
- Place spent materials in a metal trash can away from combustible materials.
- Never dispose of old fireworks in a fire.
Don’t let your fireworks display turn into a “dud”; always practice fireworks safety!