From sophisticated garden parties to casual backyard barbeques to huge Fourth of July bashes, summer is the perfect time for outdoor entertaining. With some extra planning before and during events, property damage and personal liability can be avoided.
Large parties will often involve vendors for catering, valet and security. While these services can help a party move smoothly, it is important to know who you are letting on your property. Check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure you hire a reputable company. When hiring, be sure to ask if the company does background checks on their employees.
The alcohol being served should be picked ahead of time and stored in a designated location. It is very important not to serve alcohol to minors and to not let your guests drink and drive. In some states, the hosts can be held criminally responsible if an accident occurs. If possible, hire a bartender who can keep an eye on how much your guests are drinking.
Before any outdoor entertaining, tour the property to check for safety hazards. Make sure any property grading slippage is fixed. Clear stone patios and steps of slippery mildew. Check all outdoor buildings, such as barns and sheds, and make sure they are structurally sound. Make sure all play structures and trampolines are in good condition. Barriers should be placed around outdoor sculptures to make sure they are avoided by guests.
Pool safety is always a concern. For smaller parties it is a good idea to designate a sober adult who is CPR certified to watch over the pool. For larger parties, hiring a professional lifeguard should be considered. Make sure that any water slides and pool equipment are in good condition and properly installed. Do not overwhelm a nanny or babysitter with too many charges. If a party is going to include many children, support child care should be hired to make sure the children are properly looked after.
Jessie Spigel is a Risk Consultant and Fine Art & Collection Specialist with Chubb Insurance.
For more safety tips related to summer entertaining, check out Summer Nights: Have Fun But Don’t Have a Blast!