June 29, 2022

Fireworks Safety Key for Fourth of July

Fourth of July celebrations are just around the corner. A lot of cities plan to provide a public fireworks display. While most cities are not involved with the transportation or storage of fireworks, many are involved with their detonation. Kentucky League of Cities Insurance Services staff urges city officials to have a safety plan.

Firework safety starts with maintaining safe separation between the detonation site and the public, including spectators and nearby property. A guideline for a safe distance is 70 feet of space for every inch of diameter of fireworks shells. A sufficient number of fire watches should also be on-site.

Only a person with a valid license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and considered a competent display operator can detonate fireworks. The competent display operator has overall responsibility for the operation and safety of the fireworks display. The operator must have assisted in firing at least five prior public displays with a competent display operator. Permits must be filed with the state fire marshal at least 15 days before each display. After the privilege is granted, possession, use, and distribution of fireworks for the display shall be lawful for that purpose only.

Cities covered under KLC’s general liability policy should contract their fireworks displays to a competent display operator. City employees should not perform detonations. Additionally, cities should obtain a general liability insurance certificate from an operator to give a city additional insured status under its policy. Cities should also get a written agreement containing hold harmless and indemnity and defend provisions that protect the city.

KLC Insurance Services liability policies contain specific exclusions for the insured’s ownership, management, manufacture, operation, storage, handling, detonation, or use of fireworks or pyrotechnic displays. Contact your KLC Insurance Services representative to confirm proper coverage for any events.

The KLC Special Events Planning Guide can help cities prepare and identify potential risks.