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Tips for running a safe firework display

December 10, 2023

How to run a safe firework display

Effective planning and risk management is key to running a safe firework display. Fireworks are after all explosive and should be handled with extreme care. Over 550 children under 16 years of age are taken to A&E in the four weeks surrounding bonfire night alone according to the Children’s Burns Trust. Event organisers should be aware of the dangers and have a responsible action plan in place, as well as comprehensive insurance.

To run a successful firework display, there are a range of questions organisers need to ask of themselves.

Here are some of the main questions to consider when planning a safe firework event:

What is the expected audience size of your firework display?

Audience size will dictate how large the area that needs to be marked out for viewing – but not necessarily how much money needs to be spent. It is often expected at a firework display for there not only to be fireworks, but a bonfire and amenities. These can be costly and will need to be prepared beforehand in plentiful time. They also bring with them a wide range of risks, risks which need to be included in your effective risk management information.

What are suitable fireworks for a firework display?

Not all fireworks are permitted. Only fireworks in the category of F1, F2 and F3 can be used in amateur public or private displays. Fireworks in these categories are marked CE and will come with safety instructions.

For larger and more hazardous fireworks, such as those in the F4 category, you will need to procure the services of a Display Operator. There is no reason why a successful firework display cannot be run by yourself, however a display operator will assist with set-up and organisation.

What is the suitable site for a large fireworks display?

The display site will be required to be segmented into areas, these include:

  • The spectator area
  • The safety area – a space between spectators and the fireworks
  • The firing area
  • The fall-out area, this should be downwind of all the other areas and large enough to zone-off any falling debris
  • The bonfire area

Major roads should be considered as smoke can become a serious obstruction. Other obstructions should also be noted when deciding where to situate the firing area. Considerations could include; scaffolding poles and nearby electric power lines; overhead pylons; trees and foliage; flight paths.

The bonfire area should be at least 15 meters away from buildings, roads, footpaths and all the other areas. Flammable items and liquids should be kept away and the bonfire should be downwind of spectators.

Who to contact before running a firework display?

Advice depends upon the size of the firework event. Neighbouring landowners should be informed, as well as neighbouring institutions and businesses in case of disruption.

Your insurance arranger will need to be contacted. Gain firework display insurance with us at Insure Our Event.

For large events, contact the police department informing them of the event. Also contact the fire department 28 days before the event to organise fire-fighting arrangement. Local councils will need to know, providing advice on byelaws and noise pollution.

What preparations should be in place before running a firework display?

Fireworks and fire lighting equipment should be stored safely and securely. They require to be inspected before use. The two should be in isolation and so not in close proximity at any time.

Firefighting facilities should also be adequate, this includes fire extinguishers, buckets of water, fire blankets. They should be made easily accessible.

Effective insurance is mandatory for any public event, and should be in place for a firework display. Insure Our Event offer excellent firework display insurance, see how much we’d quote your event. We guarantee insurance is cheaper than a resulting claim.

What if someone is hurt by a firework?

First-aiders should be informed of what to do if someone is hit by a firework. In the case of serious injury call an ambulance immediately.

For first aid information see here.

What if someone has an accident and is injured?

This should be dealt with as you would normally deal with any incident. Take the information of the person injured as well as the statements of any witness, gain as much information as possible and do not accept any immediate responsibility. Call the injured party an ambulance and relay all information to your insurer.

Incidents happen; such as an injured person, third party damage, broken or malfunctioning equipment, fires or adverse weather. One of the first tasks on your to-do list should be to check your insurance with Insure Our Event. For each of these eventualities, you may well be covered.

Firework events where something goes wrong, and without any insurance, can end up being extremely costly. Organisers may be left paying out of their own pocket. To cover yourselves financially, purchase comprehensive firework event insurance with Insure Our Event today.

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