Hospitality urged to put safety first at fireworks shows this New Year’s Eve

By Hannah Thompson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality urged to put safety first at fireworks this New Year’s Eve

Related tags: Insurance

Hospitality businesses have been advised to follow strict safety guidelines this New Year’s Eve when inviting the public to any fireworks displays or events.

The tips, from insurers NFU Mutual, include making sure fireworks are handled, lit, and disposed of correctly, as well as ensuring that the local emergency services are informed before the event is set up, and preparing a ‘drill’ for calling them if required.

Other precautions include having fire extinguishers and buckets of water and sand close by, checking the insurance policies of the company selling the fireworks as well as your business’ own policy, as well as making sure that no guests are able to collect used fireworks after the event.

The guidelines are intended to protect staff and firework-lighters as much as guests in attendance at the show.

Darren Seward, hospitality sector specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Businesses in the hospitality industry such as hotels, pubs and leisure venues host either commercial or charitable events where a firework display is the main attraction at this time of year.

“But even if you are inviting the local community free of charge, it is vital that all precautions and safety elements are addressed, including proper risk assessments and ensuring adequate insurance is in place.”

“Where an event is being run by a professional fireworks display company, business owners should check that the company has its own insurances and adequate limits of indemnity equal to the company’s existing limits of cover.

“If you are running an event, discuss it in advance with your own insurer to make sure acceptable protective measures are put in place.”

 

The full list of tips

Firework safety

  • Fireworks should be kept in a closed metal box and taken out one at a time
  • The instructions on each firework should be followed carefully.  They should be read by torchlight - never a naked flame
  • There should be plenty of space. Spectators should be kept preferably 50m but no less than 22m away from a firework display
  • Keep the fireworks well away from buildings and houses – including thatched properties
  • Pets should be kept indoors
  • Fireworks are lit at arm’s length using a safety firework lighter or fuse wick
  • Organisers retreat quickly after lighting and stand well back
  • Organisers never go back to a firework once lit - as it may still be live and could go off in their face
  • Ensure fireworks are not thrown, kept in pockets or played with
  • Ensure used fireworks are collected after the display with the utmost care, doused with water and either buried or placed in a metal bucket
  • Children should not be allowed to collect used fireworks

General safety for public displays

  • Before setting up your event, the local fire and rescue service, police and first aid association should be informed
  • A drill should be prepared for calling out the emergency services
  • A rope or strong barrier should clearly mark off the display area
  • The site should have as many entrances and exits as possible which are kept clear of obstructions
  • Stewards should be appointed to guide spectators
  • Fire extinguishers should be on hand as well as buckets of water and sand

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