Celebrate July 4 Safely at Your Church

If your church is planning an event this Independence Day, remember to keep a focus on safety. Picnics, games, bounce houses, and fireworks are fun, but they each come with their own set of risks.  

When hosting events, consider how your church team will handle the following:

  • Medical emergencies. Have a CPR trained staff member or medical team on hand to respond in case of medical emergencies.
  • Heat exhaustion. If temperatures are high or your church is hosting athletic games, like flag football or baseball, provide a cooler of water and remind people to stay hydrated and to take breaks to cool down.
  • Food poisoning. If you are having a picnic or serving perishable food, be sure to follow food safety guidelines. Clean and sanitize food preparation areas. Store and serve food at correct temperatures, and do not leave food out for more than two hours. Label food items for guests with allergies.
  • Injuries from inflatables. Bounce houses, slides, obstacle courses and other inflatable amusements must be set up properly and supervised carefully to prevent injuries.

Launching Fireworks

Viewing a community fireworks display from afar cuts down on a lot of the risk that comes with a 4th of July event. 

If you decide to host an event for your church, the safest way to light up the night sky is by hiring a professional pyrotechnician. Because fireworks are dangerous explosives that can cause fires or serious injuries if handled improperly, it is not recommended that a church volunteer or employee be placed in charge of launching fireworks for the crowd. If your church is planning to host a fireworks display, learn about and comply with local ordinances and safety codes.

More than 15,000 people are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms each year for injuries associated with fireworks, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).1 Most of the people injured were amateurs launching fireworks or people viewing amateur firework displays. 

Thinking about handing out sparklers? Consider using safer alternatives such as confetti poppers, streamers, or glow sticks. Sparklers can ignite clothing and cause severe burns to fingers and to feet when dropped. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers account for more than 25% of fireworks-related ER visits.2

Before hosting a church event, check with your insurance agent to make sure that your policy provides enough liability coverage. If not, ask whether you can buy additional coverage for the occasion.

1 https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks
2 https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer/fireworks

Updated June 2022

The information provided on this article is intended to be helpful, but does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.