Don’t get caught out by Bonfire & Halloween events at your club

Now summer has drawn to a close, rather than looking back fondly at the warm sunny days, don’t forget that there are still plenty of things to look forward to. With Halloween, Bonfire Night and even Christmas around the corner, you’re bound to have lots in store.

Every year, Halloween and Bonfire parties get ever more extravagant. Customers are choosing experiences over gifts, and you can really capitalise by throwing the autumn extravaganza of all extravaganzas. It’s time to get creative – with drive in events and virtual elements helping to engage people even if large-scale events aren’t possible at the moment.

But, as always, there’s a slight word of warning to this tale. Running events bring higher chances of something going wrong. Especially at this time of year, and with so many COVID-19 restrictions and legislations in place.

Take Halloween costumes for example. Although safety standards for costumes have increased massively over the last few years, many are still not flame retardant. Put an open flame too near to your guests and disaster could strike.

Fire doesn’t care who it latches on to.

It may seem like we’re being killjoys, but nothing finishes the fun quicker than a serious accident. Risk management is vital at all times, but none more so when so people are gathering in such small places around dangerous materials as they are at Halloween and Bonfire night, even if they are socially distanced.

Each year, warnings about the potential for injury on bonfire night get louder and louder. Statistics in 2016 from St John’s Ambulance showed 4,506 were people treated for fireworks-related injuries on Bonfire night.

Many of those will have been from people misbehaving. But more than enough will have been from events like the ones you’re planning. You may also find that there are exclusions on your policy for events with a major risk. So make sure you speak to us before you go ahead with an event.

But don’t let this downer. Your event is going to be brilliant. Your customers will love it. And you’ll have a great time. And we know that because you’re going to get risk management spot on.

Follow government guidance

At the time of writing, government guidance is as follows:

  • Groups of more than six people are not permitted to meet – so make sure your team don’t admit large groups to your event.
  • Some local councils are banning trick or treating and other local events – don’t fall foul of the rules and check your local authority website to ensure your event complies with their rules.
  • People are advised to keep at least two metres away from one another (or one metre plus other measures). Make sure you enforce social distancing rules at your event, perhaps allowing guests to buy a “bubble” space rather than being free to mingle.
  • Face coverings are required to be worn in indoor environments, unless guests are seated to eat or drink. If your event is happening indoors, make sure you communicate these rules to your guests.
  • Encourage guests to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app. You must also take any customer details for the NHS Test and Trace.

Notify your insurer about your event

If you’re having a bonfire or firework display you’re covered as standard, right? Wrong.

Out of the ordinary events aren’t automatically covered. Events such as bonfire night heightens your risk and insurers need reassurance you’ve considered the risks and have put relevant health and safety measures in place.

If the worst happens and you need to make a claim, but your insurer knows nothing about the event, you’ll be scuppered.

One of the first tasks on your to-do list should be to contact your insurer (or, if you’re a Club Insure customer, contact us and we’ll do the rest!)

If you don’t feel comfortable doing risk checks yourself, talk to our team. We have our own risk management team ready to give you any help you might need.

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Oliver Calvert

Oliver Calvert