Updated June 2010
Fireworks Risk Management
fireworks displays generally draw large crowds and are the
event around which other activities are planned. Although
the 4th of July is the most popular time for fireworks displays,
firework shows occur year round.
the years, fireworks displays have become significantly more
technical and use larger and more sophisticated shells and
electronic triggering devices. These factors, combined with
increasing liability concerns, have led to increased use of
firms specializing in providing packaged fireworks displays.
Contracting with professionals has improved the safety of
these events. Consumer Product Safety Commission accident
statistics confirm that fireworks are the safest when handled
summer we see injuries as a result of fireworks displays.
Through proper planning and management you can significantly
reduce the possibility of injuries at your display.
are our risk management tips to help assure a successful fireworks
an expert. Use a professional fireworks display
operator who has gone through training programs and received
certification in putting on fireworks displays. Don't
try to do the display in-house.
Insurance. Your policy probably excludes fireworks.
Most do. So it's important that you make certain the display
operators has insurance and that you are named as an Additional
Insured on their policy.
early for your permit. Usually several municipality
departments must approve the planning of your display,
including fire, parks & recreation, and police.
your site. Site characteristics will have an
impact on how the display is planned. The site must include
adequate open space to create a fallout area for fireworks.
This fallout area should be free of spectators, vehicles,
combustible materials and overhead objects. Experts say
Minimum distance from the launch area to the spectators
should be a radius of at least 70 feet per inch of the
internal diameter of the largest mortar used. For example,
if the largest mortar is 6 inches, the crowd should be
back at least 420 feet. These are minimum distances; you
may need to increase them due to site characteristics,
weather conditions or other factors.
the event. Have spotters to constantly monitor
the show and the fallout. Winds can change and alter the
direction of the fallout. On-the-fly adjustments of shooting
direction to compensate may be necessary.
Event Caution. The fallout area can be just as
dangerous after an event as it is during. Do not allow
the public back in this area until it can be inspected
to recover unexploded shells and clean up other debris
that could present a hazard. Inspection should be done
immediately after the display, then again in the morning