Bonfire Night is traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).
The number of emergency calls typically increases by 40% throughout the period and SFRS is up to four times busier on 5 November than any other night of the year.
Across Scotland from 2009 to 2012, the number of secondary fires, which includes bonfires and refuse fires, averaged 1118.
In 2013 there was a significant drop in this number to 517 bonfires on 5 November, with an overall drop in secondary fires of around 40% compared to 2012. SFRS aims to maintain and improve upon this decline in calls for Bonfire Night 2014.[quote_box_right]Over the past five years over 350 pre-school children, some as young as one year old, were treated in hospital for firework injuries. Be safe and always follow the fireworks code.[/quote_box_right]
In the former Grampian area, which takes in Aberdeen city, Aberdeenshire and Moray, firefighters dealt with 155 incidents, 46 bonfires and there were two attacks on crews/appliances recorded (both in Aberdeen), which represents a reduction in attacks on staff compared to previous years.
The Service and its partners are appealing to the public to stay safe this Bonfire Night by attending organised events rather than staging their own bonfires or fireworks displays.
SFRS Local Senior Officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray and prevention & protection lead for North Area, David Rout, said
We want to make 2014 one of the safest Bonfire Nights ever and we are appealing to the public who may be planning their own bonfire to consider attending an organised display instead.
Organised events are well-managed, normally more spectacular and crucially safer for you, your family and friends.
Our attendance at bonfires could mean our resources are being taken away from other emergencies and calls to assist people in danger or life-threatening situations. It could have tragic consequences for those who urgently need our help.
We want everyone to be able to celebrate 5 November safely and in a way that doesn’t require the intervention of the emergency services.
In the run up to Bonfire Night 2014 our Service personnel will be going to schools across Aberdeenshire to teach children about the dangers associated with bonfires and fireworks.
We can all play a part in making this time of year safer. It is against the law for fireworks to be sold to children and young people. If you are aware of this happening please report it to Police Scotland or Trading Standards.
We would also encourage the public to report unsafe or dangerous bonfires or bonfire materials and any suspicions of deliberate fire setting. In doing this, we can keep our communities safer together.
The public are requested to pass on any information about who may be responsible for fire setting to Police Scotland using the 101 non-emergency number or Scotland Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.
Police Scotland Superintendent for Moray and Aberdeenshire, George Macdonald said
We urge everyone to follow the safety advice given by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in respect of bonfires and use of fireworks. We want people to enjoy the time of year in safety and recommend that organised displays or events are the best way to do so.
At this time of year, we also receive a number of calls relating to the irresponsible and illegal use of fireworks in public places. I would therefore remind everyone that it is not just illegal to sell or supply adult fireworks to a person under the age of 18 but it is also illegal for any person under the age of 18 to be in possession of a firework in a public place.
We appeal to retailers and parents to be aware of the law to assist us in keeping fireworks out of the hands of young people.
Chairman of the Aberdeenshire Community Safety Partnership, William Munro, said
Bonfire Night is always an exciting time of year for children and families, but it’s important to stay safe while having fun.
A moment of inattention when using fireworks or around the bonfire can lead to a lifetime of regret and people can reduce the risk of anything untoward happening by attending organised events.
Working together and looking after each other we can make a traditionally more dangerous time of year safer while still having a good time.
If you are planning a bonfire party at home, please follow the RoSPA Fireworks Top Ten Safety Code For Adults.
- Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
- Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
- Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
- Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
- Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
- Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
- Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.
If you want to go to an organised bonfire & display Banff Round Table will be holding their annual fireworks display at Duff House.
For more bonfire and firework safety advice visit http://www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/bonfire-night.aspx