Fireworks: Staying covered this New Year’s Eve

Fireworks displays are fun and can provide a fitting spectacle for New Year’s Eve celebrations, but before you put on a display for your members or for the public, make sure you make the proper preparations beforehand. Many policies will typically exclude firework displays, so unless you have extended your policy to provide the necessary cover you may have an issue should an incident occur.

Taunton Rugby Club in Somerset

It’s likely you have heard about the widely reported incident which took place at the Taunton Rugby Club in Somerset on November 2011. Due to the clubs close location to the M5 motorway, a firework display involving 1500 fireworks within fifteen minutes created a thick black smog across the road. This resulted in a tragic 34 car pile up that left seven people dead in the accident and 51 injured, illustrating how important it is to be safe and make the necessary arranged prior to using fireworks at your venue.

Precautions before using fireworks

Before agreeing to host a firework display, be sure to carry out a risk assessment to make sure you have the appropriate facilities to do so safely. Once you are sure that a firework display can be performed safely, contact your local authority get the appropriate licences to host a firework display.

If a specialist firework display company is being used, ensure the roles and responsibilities for the event are reviewed and agreed before the event. Finally make sure you have designated appropriate viewing areas at a safe distance (according to the guidance found on the firework packaging) from when the fireworks are to be launched.

Logistical precautions you can take when using fireworks

Anti-social behaviour can be a worry at periods of the year when fireworks are sold, so consider taking measures to ensure that letter boxes are well protected and not at risk from flammable materials being put through them.

Ensure that all areas of your sports or social club are locked securely at the end of the working day and doors and windows are sealed to ensure that it’s not possible for fireworks or debris to enter.

Move at risk items from your property and surrounding area, things like timber pallets, plastic crates and other flammable materials should be kept well clear of any firework display or fire. This of course is the same for flammable liquids and any compressed or flammable gases, which should both be kept a safe distance from your display. Finally, cut all long grass, bushes and vegetation that could potentially be a fire risk.

Let your insurer know

Most importantly, tell your insurance provider well in advance of having any event that uses fireworks. Sometimes a policy will not cover the use of fireworks or only allow them within specific situations, it is always best to check beforehand and ensure that you are protected if anything goes wrong. The specific wording of each policy can differ, so make sure you know exactly what precautions and permissions you have when organising New Year’s Eve fireworks or any other firework events.

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