West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to play it safe by going to an organised bonfire and firework display this year.
Last year firefighters extinguished 248 fires outdoors between November 1 and 9, with 15 in the Calderdale area. These included anything from grass fires to wheelie bins and rubbish.
WYFRS support staff are already pounding the pavements alongside council teams in a bid to clear the streets of anything which arsonists might set alight and prevention staff have educated children in a number of schools of the dangers associated with fire and fireworks.
Chris Kirby, Area Manager for Fire Safety, said: “We want everyone to enjoy the bonfire season responsibly and we believe organised bonfires and firework displays are the safest option.
“A great deal of work goes into preparing neighbourhoods for the bonfire period, in order to clear any potential fuel for arsonists. Fires in the open don’t only post a serious risk to the public, but they also take our crews away from other potentially life-threatening incidents.”
Calderdale District Prevention Manager, Toby May, said: “When handled inappropriately, fireworks are explosives which burn at extremely high temperatures and have the potential to cause serious injuries and can even be fatal.
“There is also a real danger around the use of fireworks when intoxicated, so we would urge people to avoid drinking whilst in charge of a bonfire or fireworks. It’s much safer and easier to attend a local planned event within Calderdale.”
Here are the fire service’s top tips on staying safe this bonfire night:
Keep bonfires small and manageable and build them away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and bushes
Never use flammable liquids – paraffin or petrol – to light the fire
Keep everyone away from the fire – especially children – and keep pets indoors
Avoid drinking alcohol whilst in charge of a bonfire or fireworks
In case of an emergency, keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready
Make sure your fireworks conform to British Standards BS 7114, EN 14035 or EN 15947
Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
Light the firework at arm’s length using a taper or fuse wick and stand well back – never return to afirework once it has been lit
You cannot buy fireworks under the age of 18
You can be fined or imprisoned for buying or using fireworks illegally
Only children over the age of five are allowed to use sparklers and should be supervised by an adult at all times
Chief Superintendent Dickie Whitehead, of West Yorkshire Police said: “The period around bonfire night can see an increase in incidents of anti-social behaviour, particularly through the
misuse of fireworks.
“We will be working closely with our partners to take preventative measures and combine this with robust enforcement.”
The Force has created a ‘Don’t Fool with Fireworks’ poster, warning how anti-social behaviour involving fireworks can lead to an £80 fine.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s advice can be viewed on their website www.westyorksfire.gov.uk and Bonfire Night safety messages will be tweeted out using the #WYBonfire hashtag.
To view the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s bonfire safety video click here.