It’s that time of the year again – Autumn! A season of beautiful colours, harvest celebrations, Halloween and, of course, fireworks! Are you going to organise a fireworks night in your pub back garden? If so, you need to be ready for all eventualities.
- Before setting up your event, inform your local Fire Station and Police, and also make sure you have support from a local first aid association/charity. Get in touch with your Local council as you may require a licence for holding such an event. Respecting your neighbourhood area is also vital. Informing residents of your event – especially those with pets or small children – is very much a necessity.
- Consider whether the chosen area is suitable and large enough for your display. On the day of the event, double check the site and weather conditions.
- Advance organisation of such events is important, as it involves the health and safety of all people involved. If you plan on selling alcohol, the bar should be well away from the display site, and you will have to obtain a license separately if you are serving alcohol outside the area marked on your premises license. Plan and mark out the areas for spectators and firing fireworks, allowing for a safety zone, as well as an area where the fireworks will fall. Keep pedestrian and car entrances apart if possible. Mark entrance and exit routes clearly and ensure they are well lit. Make sure that emergency vehicles can get easy access to the site.
- You should have ample staff ready for the night, and they should be ready to handle any situation. If they are helping with the display, they should be wearing hi-vis jackets. If there are children present, they will probably be excited and running around. They should be accompanied by an adult at all times, and kept away from the display area. Remember to check in daylight for overhead power lines and other obstructions. Most of all, think about what you would do if things go wrong.
- Fireworks should be stored and used safely according to the instruction manuals. Fire extinguishers, buckets of water and sand, and First Aid facilities should be available close by, and only trained people should be allowed to use them.
- Do not allow drinks around the display area. After the event, make sure all debris is cleared away in the appropriate manner, as advised by the local council.
- One of the most important issues, which you definitely cannot afford to forget, is insurance. Most employers are required by law to insure against liability for disease or injury to their employees, arising from their employment. This ensures that you have at least a minimum level of insurance cover against any such claims. Don’t forget your public liability insurance which provides cover against a member of the public being hurt, and events insurance which covers you against cancellation of such events.
- When employing an external contractor for firework display, it is important to obtain written confirmation that they have public and employers’ liability insurance.
With all this talk of events, it would be wise to think even further ahead: Christmas is just around the corner. Start applying for your Temporary Event Notices, as local councils will be flooded with last minute applications and with lot of holidays, it will take them a while to issue the license to you. So plan in advance for any events you will be organising and get ahead of the game.