The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is underlining the dangers of the private use of fireworks as some organised displays are being cancelled for the second year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The annual Bonfire Night event in Glasgow has also been cancelled due to it coinciding with the global COP26 environmental conference taking place in the city.
The Service is issuing a stark reminder that bonfires and the private use of fireworks can cause devastating injuries. They pose a threat to spectators and can also cause distress.
Deputy Assistant Chief Officer (DACO) Alasdair Perry is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention and Protection. He said: ‘For the second year running Bonfire Night will be significantly different to previous years as some large-scale public events across the country are being cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, and in Glasgow due to the COP26 event.
‘The Service is well resourced and prepared for this annual period of celebrations that includes Halloween, Diwali and Bonfire Night, as well as this year COP26, and we have robust measures in place to ensure we can continue to respond to emergencies.
‘There is no doubt that we welcome the continuing support of our communities – by following all available safety guidance from ourselves and our partners, they can help reduce the risk of harm wherever possible.
‘What we’re asking this year is for the public to consider the risks of hosting a private event involving either fire or fireworks. Every year people are injured by bonfires and fireworks and admitted to hospital – and children are particularly at risk.
‘We are therefore strongly encouraging anyone who is considering having a private event to think again. Those who choose to do so should familiarise themselves with the fireworks code and fire safety guidance. Do not take risks because the consequences can be devastating.’
November 5 is traditionally a busy night for the SFRS. Last year, Operations Control received 1,100 calls from members of the public and crews also responded to more than 500 bonfires within an eight-hour period – with twelve recorded attacks on firefighters.
DACO Perry said: ‘We know it’s a very small minority of people who engage in anti-social behaviour, but there’s no question it can impact on our firefighters and Operations Control colleagues as well as our partners.
‘A deliberate fire can also put property, resources and indeed lives at risk so it goes without saying that we will always take a zero-tolerance approach to fire-setting and attacks on our crews. We are continuing to engage positively with young people wherever possible to raise awareness of the dangers.’
The advice has also been backed by the Scottish Government.
Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham said: ‘The Scottish Government’s ambition is for all of Scotland’s communities to be safe places for everyone to live, work and enjoy. We all have a part to play in making that vision a reality.
‘Fireworks can be hugely damaging and distressing and that is why it is now illegal for the general public to set off fireworks before 6pm and after 11pm. This is extended to midnight on 5 November. This is an important step forward in tackling the misuse of fireworks and I encourage anyone who witnesses or has information about criminality relating to fireworks to report it, so that action can be taken to prevent further harm to our communities.’
For more on how to stay safe this Bonfire Night visit www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/fireworks-safety.aspx
The Fireworks Code can be accessed at www.firescotland.gov.uk/media/2387082/sfrs_bonfires_v3.5_ah_digital.pdf
To find out how the Service is supporting COP26 visit www.firescotland.gov.uk/about-us/environment-and-carbon/supporting-cop26.aspx