Firework displays and bonfires with crowds of people can result in personal injury or property damage. The key to a successful event is responsible planning. You should consider the following as part of your wider risk assessment for holding a firework display or a bonfire:
- informing the local fire service and local authority as you may require a licence
- appointing a responsible adult (with experience of fireworks) to be in overall control of the event including storage, siting and lighting of fireworks
- choosing a site well away from buildings, trees, overhead cables and any roads or railways
- ensuring suitable fire-fighting equipment is available e.g., fire extinguisher(s) or bucket(s) of water
- only fireworks compliant with British Standards are used and ensure that the manufacturer’s instructions are read and complied with
- any bonfire is free of any dangerous materials/products e.g., foam, plastics, aerosols, paint tins or bottles
You can also obtain a copy of ‘Giving Your Own Firework Display’ booklet – Ref. HSG124 – from the Health and Safety Executive.
If you are using a third party to run the firework display, then you should ensure that they hold adequate Public Liability insurance. You may benefit from increased capacity limits if this aspect of the event is being carried out by professionals. However, you need to be clear as to who is responsible for what, especially in the event of an emergency and evidence this. It may be that even though you are not responsible for the fireworks themselves, if a claim were to occur then the hall committee could still be held accountable in a legal action.
Should the event be held on a neighbouring property or public land rather than at your premises then cover would be provided for your activities only, there would be no cover for injuries or damage to property arising from the land itself. This is the responsibility of the owner of the land, who should have their own liability insurance (under a farm policy, for example).