Firefighters and the Calderdale District Team are working hard in preparation for what is typically the busiest time of year – the bonfire season.
They have teamed up with partners at Calderdale Council as well as Calderdale Neighbourhood Policing Teams to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe time during the bonfire period.
As Bonfire Night falls on a Thursday this year, we are expecting the celebrations to be spread across two weekends.
This year the Fire Service will be publicising its ‘Gone in a Flash’ campaign which highlights how dangerous fireworks can be.
Calderdale Assistant District Commander Toby May, said: “Our aim is for everyone in Calderdale to have a safe and enjoyable bonfire period.
“Firefighters have been working hard alongside partner agencies in preparation for this busy period; ensuring there is a Fire Service presence in local areas to support our community by reporting any abandoned refuse to the council for removal so it does not become a target for arson.
“We have also been visiting local schools to provide education to youngsters on the dangers of bonfires and mishandling fireworks. Our advice to the public would be to attend an organised bonfire event as they are deemed safer and are often more impressive too.”
Between Nov 1 and 9 last year firefighters in Calderdale attended 29 secondary fires – this includes anything from wheelie bin fires to grass fires, and two were bonfires which were unmanaged and had to be extinguished.
In addition to this they were also called to 13 false alarms within the same period which turned out to be controlled burning which did not need to be extinguished.
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
- Avoid drinking alcohol whilst in charge of a bonfire or fireworks and particularly when supervising children
- In case of an emergency, keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready
- Make sure your fireworks conform to British Standards BS 7114, EN 14035 or EN 15947
- Keep fireworks in a closed box 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
- You cannot buy fireworks under the age of 18
- You can be fined or imprisoned for buying or using fireworks illegally
- Only children over the age of five are allowed to use sparklers and should be supervised by an adult at all times
- We also have a Bonfire and Firework Safety Video offering advice.
Superintendent David Lunn from West Yorkshire Police Protective Services said: “Bonfire Night is one of the busiest nights of the year for the police and our emergency service colleagues.
“Police officers and PCSOs will be carrying out additional patrols in neighbourhoods to provide extra reassurance, and to make sure that those committing anti-social behaviour offences are quickly dealt with.
“The Force’s call handing staff will be on hand to deal with calls about anti-social behaviour involving the misuse of fireworks, and we also offer an online reporting service for incidents that do not require immediate attention.”
The Fire Service is working alongside the council’s Environmental Health teams for the ‘Big Tidy Up’ event, which will start on Monday, November 2. Staff teams will take to areas in and around Halifax and the Lower and Upper Valley, aiming to target spots in need of a clean-up, or areas of debris identified by the Fire Service as being a potential fire risk.
Council staff will target sites that are owned and managed by Calderdale Council, ensuring the borough looks its best. If it is privately owned land, then Environmental Health teams will take steps to encourage the land owner to clean up or face the possibility of enforcement action.
Teams will be working all week, but community groups and volunteers are welcome to help out with the clean-up at a number of sites on Monday, November 2, starting at 9am.
Lower Valley – Monday 2 November
Rastrick– Targeting the area around Gooder Lane down to Bramston Street and into the Oaklands Estate. Meeting at 9am at the Globe Public House, Rastrick Common.
Halifax North & East and Halifax Central – Monday 2 November
Ovenden – Meeting with the Halifax Central Team at North Bridge Leisure Centre at 9am and targeting Old Lane from North Bridge through to Keighley Road. This area has been the target for substantial amounts of flytipping and the Council is working with private land owners to take responsibility for cleaning up their sites.
Upper Valley– Monday 2 November
Ryburn – Working with Pennine Housing 2000 and the Beechwood Tenants and Residents Association meeting at the Pennine Housing Garage Site off Whiteley Avenue at 9am. The clean up will target all the connecting roads and footpaths throughout the estate from Bates Avenue through to Priestley Place.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Steve Sweeney, said: “Council teams work hard all year round to keep areas looking as clean and tidy as possible, but sometimes it helps to have a targeted effort at sites that are in need of a little more TLC.
“It’s also a particularly important time of year to focus our clean-up efforts, and by working with West Yorkshire Fire Service we can try and prevent any identified fire risks becoming a problem around bonfire night.”