Safety calls ahead on bonfire night celebrations

The bonfire kept the crowds warm as they watched the fireworks display.

The bonfire kept the crowds warm as they watched the fireworks display.

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As Bonfire Night approaches, Angus Council and Police Scotland have echoed Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s plea to the public to make it a safe celebration.

Bonfire Night is traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

The number of emergency calls typically increases by 40 per cent throughout the period and SFRS is up to four times busier on November 5 than any other night of the year.

The Service and its partners are appealing to the public to stay safe this Bonfire Night by attending organised events rather than staging their own bonfires or fireworks displays.

SFRS Local Senior Officer for Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Angus, Dave Stapley, said: “We want to make 2014 one of the safest Bonfire Nights ever and we are appealing to the public who may be planning their own bonfire to consider attending an organised display instead.

“Organised events are well organised, normally more spectacular and crucially safer for you, your family and friends.”

He added: “Our attendance at bonfires could mean our resources are being taken away from other emergencies and calls to assist people in danger. It could have tragic consequences for those who urgently need our help.

“We want everyone to be able to celebrate the November 5 safely and in a way that doesn’t require the intervention of the emergency services.

“In the run up to Bonfire Night 2014 our Service personnel will be going to schools across Angus to teach children about the dangers associated with bonfires and fireworks.”

LSO Stapley concluded: “We can all play a part in making this time of year safer. It is against the law for fireworks to be sold to children and young people. If you are aware of this happening please report it to Police Scotland or Trading Standards.

“We would also encourage the public to report unsafe or dangerous bonfires or bonfire materials and any suspicions of deliberate fire setting. In doing this, we can keep our communities safer together.

“The public are requested to pass on any information about who may be responsible for fire setting to Police Scotland using the 101 non-emergency number or Scotland Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.”

Superintendent Roddy Irvine, Tayside Division, Police Scotland added: “We urge everyone to follow the safety advice given by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in respect of bonfires and use of fireworks. We want people to enjoy the time of year in safety and recommend that organised displays or events are the best way to do so.

“At this time of year, we also receive a number of calls relating to the irresponsible and illegal use of fireworks in public places. I would therefore remind everyone that it is not just illegal to sell or supply fireworks to a person under the age of 18 but it is also illegal for any person under the age of 18 to be in possession of a firework in a public place. We appeal to retailers and parents to be aware of the law to assist us in keeping fireworks out of the hands of young people. We can all play a part in making this time of year safer while having fun. Please help us keep people safe by reporting any concerns to Police Scotland by calling 101.”

Angus Council’s communities’ spokesperson Donald Morrison urged residents to heed the warning from the fire and rescue service saying: “In Angus there are a number of well-run bonfire night events organised by responsible local groups and organisations. I encourage residents to go along and support these safe and enjoyable family events.”

SFRS have produced lots of guidance and safety tips about Bonfire Night 2014, available online now at http://bit.ly/SFRSbonfire2014

Advice includes information about bonfire and fireworks safety (including a bonfire and fireworks safety leaflet available for download) along with links to our TV, radio and press advertisements.

SFRS will be offering tips on staying safe in the lead up to Bonfire Night through our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.