East Lothian Council

Enjoy bonfire night safely

Published Wednesday 31st October 12

Remember, remember safety on the 5th November!

East Lothian Fire and Home Safety Working Group is reminding residents of East Lothian to put safety first when handling fireworks and to refrain from building bonfires in the run up to 5th November. The message from the Lothian and Borders Fire & Rescue Service, Lothian and Borders Police and East Lothian Council, is simple:

If you are planning a bonfire/fireworks display - please take great care and make sure children are supervised at all times. Read and follow the instructions carefully for fireworks, don't cut corners, and put safety first.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, Group Commander, Alex Hume said:

"The period around the 5th of November is one of the busiest times of the year for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service. It is vital that everyone knows how to have a safe time celebrating without being hurt. Sadly, every year fireworks and bonfires injure people."

"Unsupervised bonfires also greatly increase the number of calls to the fire and rescue service at this time of year and they are a risk to the public and wildlife. We see a significant increase in the number of calls to extinguish uncontrolled or badly sited bonfires, putting pressure on resources to be immediately available for more serious incidents, including house fires and road traffic collisions, where our life saving equipment is really needed."

"We work closely with the police during this time of year as our fire crews can be subject to an increase in cases of anti-social behaviour and violence as they go about their duties. This will not be tolerated and the police will be made aware of all incidents. Please respect our fire-fighters and remember they are there to protect the public and keep communities safe from fire."

Supervised bonfires should be set up at least 18 metres from any building, and must be no taller than 2.5 metres. Piles of rubbish or waste used in bonfires should be checked before burning as they are often used as a refuge by animals. To report unauthorised bonfires being built in public open spaces in East Lothian, call 01875 612818.

Safer Communities Inspector Simon Broadhurst, commented:

"People can be seriously hurt by misusing fireworks which are very similar to explosives. Those most at risk are unsupervised children, particularly those who play with fire or who get too close to bonfires. We want everyone to enjoy this time of year but stay safe and stick to supervised bonfires and firework displays."

Working in partnership with the fire and rescue service, the council's trading standards team has been closely monitoring retailers who are selling fireworks to ensure that they are not selling to people who are underage. Along with the rules concerning the sale of fireworks that are also restriction on when fireworks can be used legally.

John Moffat, Trading Standards Officer, explained:

"Shops can only sell fireworks between 15 October and 10 November, unless they have a special all-year selling licence. The public should also be aware that it is illegal to use fireworks outside the hours of 7am - 11pm. The exceptions to this are 5 November when they can be used until midnight and on 13 November, the first day of the Hindu Diwali festival, when they can be used from 7am until 1am on the morning of the 14 November."

Follow the firework code. The rules include: only buying fireworks marked BS 7114; keep fireworks in a closed box; following the instructions on each firework; lighting them at arm's length using a taper; standing well back; always supervising children around fireworks; lighting sparklers one at a time and wear gloves; keeping pets indoors; not drinking alcohol if setting off fireworks; never going near a lit firework; never putting fireworks in your pocket or throwing them; never giving sparklers to children under five and not setting off fireworks after 11pm.

East Lothian Council Leader Willie Innes said:

"Safety is of the paramount importance at this exciting time of the year. The message is to put safety first and follow the advice. If you can, go along to an organised display. There are rules for selling, buying and using fireworks, and for building bonfires. In 2012 it is hoped that there is a reduction in the number of bonfire/firework related callouts and complaints and to keep bonfire celebrations safe for everyone."

Inspector Broadhurst added:

"We hope that everyone has a safe fun time. However we will robustly pursue anyone involved in illegal bonfires, or selling fireworks to anyone who is underage. Anyone with any information or concerns regarding this should contact the police on 0131 311 3131."

East Lothian Council wish to ensure that local communities are supportive of the crucial work of the emergency services. There have recently been attacks on fire crews whilst they carry out their duties and, in addition to the fact that attacking emergency service personnel compromises community safety, we should be aware that such actions can attract a penalty under the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005.

To report antisocial behaviour please call the Antisocial Behaviour Unit on 0845 601 8518.


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