West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is gearing up for its busiest time of the year as the bonfire season approaches!
Firefighters have been visiting schools across West Yorkshire to spread safety messages to youngsters with wristbands being issued to children bearing the slogan #WeAreBonfireSafe.
We are also urging parents to follow our guidance on bonfires and fireworks.
Area Manager for Service Delivery Chris Kirby said: “We want everyone to enjoy the bonfire period safely and have a great time!
“We always urge people to go to an organised event where professionals are in charge of the fireworks – and often this is a more spectacular display!
“If you are intent on having a bonfire in your garden then it’s really important that you follow our guidance on where to site the bonfire, keeping it under control and ensuring both adults and youngsters are safe around the bonfire.
“If you are planning on letting off fireworks, ensure that you always buy them from a reputable retailer and follow the manufacturer’s guidance and the Fireworks Code.
“We are not aiming to spoil anyone’s fun but if bonfires are lit in inappropriate places, or are not being kept under control, then they pose a risk to the public and firefighters will put them out.
“So we urge people to plan their event with safety in mind and not use the bonfire season as an excuse to be reckless with fire or fireworks.”
On November 5 last year, our crews attended a total of 278 incidents in a 24-hour period. This included 91 deliberate nuisance fires – including grass fires, rubbish left in the street or on wasteland and bin fires.
In twenty instances bonfires had to be extinguished.
However in a further 62 cases the Fire Service was called to bonfires which were under control and did not need extinguishing.
Key Bonfire Safety Messages
- Keep bonfires small and manageable and build them away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and bushes
- Never use flammable liquids – paraffin or petrol – to light the fire
- Keep everyone away from the fire – especially children – and keep pets indoors
- Consider using a safety barrier and place at a safe distance
- Avoid drinking alcohol whilst in charge of a bonfire or fireworks
- In case of an emergency, keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready
- Keep fireworks in a closed box well away from any bonfire and use them one at a time
- Light the firework at arm’s length using a taper or fuse wick and stand well back – never return to a firework once it has been lit
- Take one firework out of the box at a time or have a tin to store loose fireworks safely, replace the lid in-between lighting fireworks, keep fireworks away from sources of heat or ignition and never light more than one at a time
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions very carefully and cordon off the area where the fireworks will be lit
- If you’re popping down to your local fireworks display be aware of the cordoned areas and remind children not to go beyond those points
- In the unlikely event that your clothing catches fire, remember to stop, drop and roll
- If a first aider is present allow them to treat any burns and go straight to hospital.
- Sparklers – Wear gloves to add extra protection! If you and your little ones will be waving sparklers around, do not use in crowded spaces. Give yourself plenty of room, keep them at arm’s length away from your body – they get very hot! Dispose of in a bucket of water or sand. Only children over the age of five are allowed to use sparklers and should be supervised by an adult at all times.
- Firework safety messages
- You can only sell fireworks that conform to EU safety standards (or British Standard BS 7114 if they were produced before 4 July 2010) and which carry the CE mark and meet certain noise conditions. They must have the CE mark or BS 7114 printed on each item or on the retail packaging
- Always buy from a reputable retailer and read the manufacturer’s guidelines
- Category 4 fireworks can only be used by professionals.
- Adult fireworks are category 2 and 3 fireworks – they don’t include things like party poppers.
- You cannot buy fireworks under the age of 18
- You can be fined or imprisoned for buying or using fireworks illegally
- Fire Service inspectors work with Trading Standards to do spot checks on retailers in the lead up to the bonfire period
- If you suspect someone may be selling illegal fireworks you can report them to Trading Standards
- Click here for information on the law and when you can set off fireworks
- Always follow the Fireworks Code
Chief Superintendent Mabs Hussain, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “We are working alongside our colleagues at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to try and ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Bonfire weekend.
“Traditionally, on Bonfire Night and the days around it, we tend to see an increase in calls to the police, with our call handlers taking nearly 900 more calls on 4 and 5 November last year than we would usually receive.
“Our officers will be providing a high visibility presence to both deter and deal with any incidents of anti-social behaviour or crime connected to the Bonfire Night celebrations.
“Fireworks can be a great source of entertainment but can also be extremely dangerous if not used correctly. Fireworks should never be directed at individuals or properties and any deliberate use of them to injure, damage or cause fear to others will not be tolerated.”
Members of the public are being asked wherever possible to #clickB4UCall to report non-emergency minor crime and anti-social behaviour to the police via the West Yorkshire Police website. 999 should only be used where there is danger to life or a crime in progress, with the 101 non-emergency number available to report other crime and disorder.
Follow the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Twitter page @WYFRS using #WYBonfire to keep up with our safety messages this bonfire period.
For more information and advice from West Yorkshire Police follow @WestYorksPolice using #WYBonfire or West Yorkshire Police Customer Contact Centre @WYP_CCC