Take the following precautions if your school is exploring the possibility of using fireworks in a celebration:
- Hire a licensed contractor with experience in handling and setting off the fireworks. Be sure that the contractor agrees to indemnify the school in the event of an accident. For information on indemnification, refer to A Guide for Reviewing Contracts and Improving Contracting on Campus: Allocating Risks Between Parties
- Review state and local laws that apply to the display of fireworks. Make sure that the contractor follows all city and state regulations.
- When selecting viewing locations, refer to the recommendations of Pyrotechnics Guild International as to the safe placement of spectators in relation to the type of firework being launched.
- Follow all school policies related to the display of fireworks. Washington University's Fireworks Policy is an example of a policy that addresses the use of fireworks on campus.
- Finally, make sure to have EMS and firefighters nearby in the event of an accident.
When planning a fireworks display, involve local firefighters, your campus fire marshal, or representatives from the campus office of environmental health and safety. These folks have valuable safety knowledge on proper firework set-up and may be able to recommend quality fireworks vendors for your institution to work with.
Involving those with fire safety expertise early in the process is a great way to ensure a safe fireworks display and to solidify the relationship with this important campus group. For campus events like fireworks, you may even want to consider forwarding event proposals to relevant constituencies on campus for comment. This gives an opportunity for relevant input while events are still in the planning stages and corrections can be made easily.
About the Author
Alyssa Keehan, Esq.
CPCU, ARM, Director of Risk Management Research & Consulting
Alyssa oversees the development of UE’s risk management content and consulting initiatives, ensuring reliable and trustworthy guidance for our members. Her areas of expertise include campus sexual misconduct, Title IX, threat assessment, campus security, contracts, and risk transfer. She previously handled UE liability claims and held positions in the fields of education and insurance.