Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many cities across the country have canceled or postponed their 4th of July celebrations including the traditional fireworks display. But with so many activities and events cancelled in 2020, some cities have decided maintaining their fireworks show is a tradition too important to forego. Working through the logistics of keeping spectators safe and socially distanced, however, is a new challenge. Some cities are promoting drive-in events with parking lot recommendations for good viewing while others are hosting neighborhood-based events which allow the community to remain in their own backyard.
Although attendance at this year’s fireworks celebrations will be different from past years, one thing remains a constant for a public entity – the liability that comes with hosting a fireworks display. The following are considerations for planning and contracting with a vendor for a fireworks show. All government entities should develop controls that will fit their specific needs.
Guidelines and procedures by which fireworks may be safely displayed and/or discharged upon an entity’s property. These polices should comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations as well.
Establish who within your entity will have the authority to oversee and control the use of fireworks displays.
The polices that your government entity develops should comply with all local, state, and federal laws and state that local, state, or federal government shall have the sole authority to suspend or terminate fireworks shows/displays any time upon their own discretion and/or upon the advice of the operator, the producer of the event.
The fireworks company/operator shall supply the fireworks, tools and equipment for shipping and receiving, on-site storage, and the necessary number of qualified personnel needed to set up, fire the display and thoroughly clear the entire area of fireworks debris at the conclusion of the event.
The operators shall be licensed and approved in accordance with any and all applicable state, federal, county, parish, or municipal laws.
The sponsor of the event or the contractor shall furnish a certificate of liability insurance in the amount of at least $1,000,000 naming the government entity as an additional insured. They shall provide a hold harmless agreement in favor of the government entity. This is to satisfy claims for damages to property or personal injuries arising out of any act or omission on the part of such person, firm or corporation or any agent or employee thereof with an occurrence.