Property Casualty

‘Tis the Season for…Fireworks?

Gerald Johnson
Gerald Johnson
Senior Vice President, Property Casualty

I know it’s April, but we’re at the end of the month and this isn’t April Fools’ Day, so I’m not joking when I say now is as good of a time as any to talk about fireworks. The reason? Many convenience stores are preparing to add the “light up” fun to store shelves right along with the everyday mix of food and drinks. And if you’re one of these stores, there are some things you should know.

Minimize Risk by Preparing for Fireworks

First, check to see if your city has any restrictions or license requirements to sell fireworks and make sure to inform employees and customers of these laws. For example: Some cities/states can sell and shoot fireworks before Memorial Day; others must wait until it’s closer to July 4th. The key? Follow the law.

A couple of other pieces of advice:

  • Practice good risk management.
  • Minimize handling of the product (for example: have the fireworks vendor break down the fireworks packaging and stock shelves).
  • Pick a location in the store for the fireworks that’s not near a heating source.

It would also be in your best interest to post warning signs/posters or disclaimers near where the fireworks are sold.

A list of safety tips provided by the National Council on Fireworks Safety that could be used in coordination with the poster would be:

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks — read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations prohibit the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department. 

I’ve also found that the National Council on Fireworks Safety has a lot of other helpful information. Feel free to check out its site for some tips and tricks.

And when it comes to insurance and fireworks, talk to us! Holmes Murphy specializes in providing insurance and risk management services to the convenience store/petroleum industry. Feel free to leave a question below…or reach out to us directly! And if you have any advice for other stores on what has worked for you in relation to fireworks and risk, please let us know by commenting!

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