Ministries often look forward to celebrating the 4th of July by offering community gatherings that can include entertainment, bounce houses, and especially fireworks. If your church is planning such an event this July 4th or if the use of fireworks is planned for your own personal use, remember to keep a focus on firework safety for your benefit and those participating.
- Generally speaking, church sponsored fireworks should be discouraged. Fireworks are dangerous explosives that can cause fires or serious injuries if handled improperly.
- If a fireworks show is a must, leave this to professional fireworks companies – do not launch them yourselves. Do your homework on the fireworks vendor. Ask for and contact references. Have an attorney review your contract before you sign. The contract should indemnify your organization and should named your organization as an additional insured on their liability policy.
- Bounce houses and other inflatable amusements must be set up properly and supervised carefully to prevent injuries.
- Develop worst-case scenario plans.
- Call in the professionals, including EMT and fire personnel.
- Above all, contact your insurance agent. Many policies exclude fireworks under the general liability coverage and other generally do not consider this an acceptable exposure so you may need to obtain a “special events” policy.
Personal Use Fireworks Safety
According to experts, the Fourth of July is the most dangerous American holiday of the year. The improper use of fireworks can result in death, amputations, and blindness so follow these safety tips when using fireworks:
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area prior to purchasing them.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Don’t purchase fireworks that are packaged in brown paper as this is usually an indicator that the fireworks were intended for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
- Never place any part of your body directly over the fireworks.
- Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting the firework.
- Always have an adult supervising firework activity. This includes sparklers, which cause 31 percent of firework related injuries.
- Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
- Launchers must be stable to prevent tipping over and engaging in a horizontal discharge.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another individual.
- Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby in case of fire.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse them in water before disposing of them to prevent a trash fire.
We wish you and your family a Happy 4th!