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    Fireworks Safety

    Recently, an administrator from a United Educators (UE) member institution asked for advice on incorporating fireworks into the campus’ Centennial festivities. Below are some of UE’s recommendations, which may be helpful if your school or campus is exploring the possibility of using fireworks in a celebration:

    • Consider retaining 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.
    • Look at any state laws that apply to the display of fireworks. Make sure that the contractor follows all city and state regulations.
    • When deciding viewing locations, please refer to the recommendations of Pyrotechnics Guild International as to the safe placement of spectators in relation to the type of firework being launched.
    • All school policies related to the display of fireworks should be followed. 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. 

    Don’t Forget! When planning a fireworks display, campus administrators should involve their local firefighters, 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, an institution 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.