Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) are working closely with the Lancashire Resilience Forum and local partners to help keep people safe this bonfire period.
People have been at home more than usual this year due to the Coronavirus, and with another lockdown coming into effect in time for Bonfire Night, LFRS and partners at Lancashire Constabulary and NWAS are expecting things to be busier than usual.
With Coronavirus thwarting most events this year we understand you may be feeling restless and downhearted about your usual Bonfire displays cancelled. Trust us, our ever popular Firework and Bonfire night at our Training Centre has too been cancelled this year. However why not get creative?! Are there alternative ways to celebrate from the comfort of your own home? Why not make a den with your household, snuggle down with a hot chocolate or make some good ole fashioned Lancashire bonfire treats like butter Pie, parkin and Lancashire Hot Pot. Whatever you decide to do we ask you to do it safely.
In March and April we all joined together to give our NHS a helping hand by staying as safe as we could and isolating to help keep numbers of people going to hospital down. Please do what you can this Autumn to ensure the NHS don’t receive high numbers when they can be avoided by following some simple safety advice.
Unfortunately, all organised displays have been cancelled for 2020. If you really cannot wait until 2021 to watch a firework and bonfire display safely we are urging people to please stay safe. Whilst most people enjoy fireworks responsibly, in the wrong hands they can cause real misery. Remember that fireworks are explosives, and as such should be treated with respect and only used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the Firework Code.
Please stay safe and follow the Firework Code:-
- Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and ensure it finishes before 11pm
- Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
- Place on a stable surface, 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
- Dispose of fireworks by soaking in a bucket of water for several hours, bag it and bin in your usual black bin once completely cool
- 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
- Do not burn household rubbish or white goods on a bonfire. Keep your bonfire within a cordon area away from fireworks, people, property and trees and never light using flammable liquid. Check for animals hiding before lighting
- Keep pets indoors and ensure children are safe and a good distance away from the fireworks
- Pour water on bonfire embers to ensure it is fully extinguished before leaving or going to bed
- If using sparklers ensure they are held in a gloved hand at arm’s length and there is a bucket of water to put them in once the sparkler is out
We are currently amidst a global pandemic and we are asking people not to take risks, putting additional pressures on our emergency services.
Head of Neighbourhood Policing Chief Supt Sam Mackenzie said: “Bonfire night and the run up to it always creates extra demand for local services.
“In some areas across Lancashire we see increases in antisocial behaviour and criminal damage and sadly a number of firework injuries as a result.
“However, this year, we also have high levels of Coronavirus to contend with so it’s vitally important we all do our bit to stay safe.
“That means following the firework code and sticking to the latest guidance and regulations around households and gatherings.”
Sam Hall, Advanced Paramedic for North West Ambulance Service, said: “Bonfire Night is usually a great time of year for families and friends to get together and enjoy firework displays but this year it is very different. As there are no organised displays, more people will be celebrating at home so it is vital to take some time to think about safety.
“Please help us help you this Bonfire Night as many injuries from fireworks can be easily avoided with a bit of extra care. If you are using your own fireworks, allocate a sensible adult to be in charge and keep children a safe distance away. Be sure to follow the instructions and if you’re in charge of the fireworks, it’s best to avoid alcohol until after they’ve finished.”
Fireworks can frighten people and animals. The elderly and children are frequently scared and intimidated by firework noise. Tell your neighbours if you’re planning on letting off fireworks and avoid purchasing really noisy ones. We’ve also celebrated a number of centenary and anniversary dates recently such as VE Day and 10 years since the end of the first world war in 2019 as well as Remembrance Day coming up. With such huge respect shown on these anniversary dates for our veterans and serving military personnel please consider how scary the setting of fireworks could be for someone from a military background or who suffers the affects of PTSD. Loud bangs may also bring back awful memories for Lancashire residents who suffer the effects of PTSD.
Fireworks can also cause a great deal of distress to pets and animals. In a recent survey, 62% of dog owners reported their pets showing signs of distress during fireworks season, with 54% of cat owners experiencing the same. We are supporting RSPCA’s ‘Bang Out Of Order’ campaign, encouraging the responsible use of fireworks and the adoption of tighter regulations concerning their use.
Finally, the Environment Agency are also reminding people that it is illegal to burn most types of waste. Burning waste such as treated wood, tyres, plastics, rubber and oil can seriously harm health and pollute the environment. People could face a fine of up to £50,000 for illegally managing waste. They remain committed during the Coronavirus situation to reducing waste crime and reducing the opportunities for those operating illegally to do so.
Chief Supt Mackenzie said: “We know it has been an extremely difficult few months, particularly here in Lancashire, but I would urge those who want to celebrate Bonfire Night to do so safely, without putting themselves and others at any additional risk.”
They’d like to remind people about the rules regarding setting off fireworks which are that fireworks must not be set off at anytime between 11pm and 7am, except for:
- Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
- New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am
Chief Fire Officer, Justin Johnston, said; “We’re asking Lancashire to show some respect this Bonfire Night.”
Fire Safety this Autumn
Now is also a good opportunity to remind people on how to stay safe in the home this autumn and beyond. We marked Candle Fire Safety week and Burn Awareness Day back in October and you can read more about candle safety here. In addition, now is a good time to check you have working smoke alarms and even a CO2 alarm if you have a wood burner. Ensuring your wood burner is clear and well swept is also important. And if you get caught in an autumnal downpour please don’t be tempted to dry your clothes in front of a fire as they could easily catch fire if they are too close.
Following the government advice and trying to walk and cycle where you can? Well done you but make sure you have high-viz clothing and lights as the nights get darker much earlier.
Finally LFRS wish to remind people about the importance of checking on your neighbours. Our Nosey Neighbour campaign encouraged people to make a regular phone call to an isolated, vulnerable or elderly person or knock on their door to check they are okay. With darker nights and curtains drawn it is all too easy to forget about how someone is.
There are also some great initiatives going on around the county to keep you busy, safe and entertained this Halloween and Bonfire period. You can find out more on our webpage www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/bonfirenight
LFRS are also pleased to announce that they will host a virtual Bonfire Night on Thursday 5 November at 6:30pm live from our Facebook page. It will involve a bonfire and fireworks display, tour of the fire engine and finish with a bedtime story by Firefighter ‘Cloughy’ who many people know and love from the lockdown sessions. You can find out more about this event here.
We’ll be sharing safety messages throughout the bonfire season so be sure to follow us across all our social media channels.