Reduction in Bonfire Night attacks and call outs to firefighters

A joined-up approach between various agencies led to a reduction in attacks and call outs for firefighters on Bonfire Night.

Scott Donegan at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) worked with police, local authorities, youth workers and schools on prevention activities in a bid to tackle the problem of the misuse of fireworks and attacks on firefighters.

These partnerships led to a reduction in call outs for fire crews on November 5 being compared to recent years. In the lead up to Bonfire Night West Yorkshire Police and WYFRS worked together to hand out consequence cards to youths in areas where there are high levels of attacks on emergency workers.

The cards reminded young people of the consequences they face from attacks on emergency service workers. Not only will they be arrested and charged with an offence, but the record stays with them for life and can influence the jobs they get.

On Friday (January 13) the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority’s Community Safety Committee will hear how there were four attacks on Bonfire Night, which is much lower than predicted. These were mainly caused by fireworks being thrown at crews – no injuries were reported.

Operations Response Area Manager Scott Donegan from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are very pleased with the outcomes from last year’s bonfire night which saw a reduction in both call outs and attacks on firefighters.

“This is the result of a targeted approach working with partners including the police, local councils, and schools ahead of November 5th in the potential risk areas.

“We will review what worked well - hopefully leading to better results year on year. We also appreciate the help provided by members of the community who followed safety advice and acted responsibly to keep themselves safe in their homes and gardens.

“Having organised activities of course helps to reduce risk, but clearly there is a cost associated for those who hold such events, whether they are publicly or privately funded, and that is not something we are in a position to help with sadly.

“We will of course offer our support where we can to those that need it to ensure communities are kept as safe as possible across West Yorkshire.”