Celebrate safely this firework season

As firework season approaches, East Ayrshire’s community safety arrangements are being strengthened as partnership agencies join forces to encourage communities to celebrate safely.

As firework season approaches, East Ayrshire’s community safety arrangements are being strengthened as partnership agencies join forces to encourage communities to celebrate safely.

East Ayrshire Council is working in partnership with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and Police Scotland to provide vital safety advice to ensure that residents enjoy this year’s bonfire night in a safe manner.

Wherever possible, residents are being encouraged to attend an organised event, where all the appropriate fire safety measures should be in place. There is a greater risk of accidents taking place at private displays, where bonfires can quickly get out of control.

Councillor Jim McMahon, Cabinet Spokesperson for Community Safety welcomed this move.

He said: “We are encouraging everyone to consider safer options to celebrate bonfire night this year. Any bonfire can easily get out of hand and can spread to fences, sheds and adjacent properties, causing serious injuries to people and wildlife. Fireworks too are dangerous if not used correctly and safely and can cause great distress to many people and their animals.

“All of this puts significant strain on our emergency services and the NHS, at a time when we know they are already under additional pressure due to the ongoing presence of COVID-19. We can all play our part by making some safer choices this bonfire season.

“Our message is simple - don’t make bonfires - and if you are planning to hold a firework display, please follow the firework code. Our partners in local emergency services will be enforcing safety measures and removing bonfires and potential bonfire materials that present a risk.”

This bonfire period there will be an increased presence by all partners across East Ayrshire as they provide reassurance to local communities by engaging, explaining and encouraging safe behaviours. Over the coming weeks, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service will be engaging with local schools in the run up to 5 November, to increase awareness and highlight the dangers associated with bonfires and fireworks.

Ian McMeekin is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for East, North and South Ayrshire.

He said: “For the second year running, Bonfire Night will be significantly different to previous years as some large scale public events 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’s 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 in East Ayrshire - 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 people to consider the risks of hosting their own 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.”

 For more on how to stay safe this Bonfire Night visit https://www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/fireworks-safety.aspx

 The Fireworks Code can be found at https://www.firescotland.gov.uk/media/2387082/sfrs_bonfires_v3.5_ah_digital.pdf