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Thursday, December 7, 2023

People across West Yorkshire are encouraged to stay safe this Halloween and Bonfire Night as events allowed to return this year

The police and fire and rescue service in West Yorkshire are urging people to make the most of the celebrations while making safety a priority this Halloween and Bonfire Night.

With Covid-19 restrictions lifted, the annual festivities offer a different picture from last year with dozens of organised events to be held around West Yorkshire – providing a safer alternative to fires and fireworks at home.

The police, fire and rescue service, and Yorkshire Ambulance Service are working together so everyone across the region can enjoy the days surrounding 31 October and 5 November.

Following the Fireworks Code will help keep you safe during Bonfire Night. Image: Pixels. 

To help maintain maximum public safety, the fire service will draft in additional resources in the days leading up to and after bonfire night. Bonfires that are safely managed will be allowed to continue, while those posing a danger to people, or buildings may be extinguished.

The fire service will be working with local partners to provide educational school talks for young people. Firefighters will also conduct spot checks with the local authority to remove fly-tipping that could be targeted for arson.

Area Manager for fire service delivery, Scott Donegan, said: “Following the bonfire cancellations last year, we want people to go out and enjoy what promises to be a fun time of year across our region, however, our priority is that people reduce any risk to themselves, others and celebrate safely!

“If possible, it’s best to go to an organised event as the bonfires and firework shows are bigger and more spectacular, as well as of course being much safer. But if you do plan to have a bonfire in your garden then please follow our guidance.

After a sparkler out place it in a bucket of water to make sure it doesn’t relight. Image: Morgan Sessions.

“That includes only adults buying fireworks, and only from a reputable retailer. Read and follow the Fireworks Code.

“Think carefully about where you place your bonfire, how you will keep it under control and how you’ll make sure both adults and youngsters are safe around the fireworks and the flames.

“Staying safe with sparklers is crucial. Sparklers should never be given to a child under five, must always be held at arm’s length and in a gloved hand. Once they have gone out, put sparklers in a bucket of water or sand.”

Watching fireworks is popular and fun. But fireworks are explosives and potentially dangerous, so they need careful handling and storage.

To be safe, people celebrating bonfire night must follow the Fireworks Code:

  • Only buy fireworks that are CE marked.
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box.
  • Follow the instructions on each firework.
  • Light them at arm’s length, using a taper.
  • Stand well back.
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  • Always supervise children around fireworks.
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
  • Never give sparklers to a child under five.
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Don’t set off noisy fireworks late at night and never after 11pm.

Chief Superintendent Daniel Greenwood, commander of West Yorkshire Police’s operation for Halloween and Bonfire Night, also commented on saying safe. He said: “I want everyone to enjoy both evenings in the right way and simply ask everyone to be considerate of particularly elderly or vulnerable members of the community who may be more affected by the noise and activities this time of year brings.

 Halloween and Bonfire Night is no excuse for anti-social behaviour.

“If anyone is concerned for their safety or has witnessed anti-social or criminal behaviour then I urge them to contact the police using 999 if it is an emergency or 101 or online methods if not.”

The chief superintendent said he also had a stark warning for those who were intent on using the period as a pretext for disorder.

“Halloween and Bonfire Night are no excuse for anti-social behaviour or for anyone seeking to endanger or frighten anyone else deliberately,” he said.

“We will respond promptly to any reports of ongoing incidents and technology such as CCTV, bodycam and mobile phone footage gives us an unparalleled ability to identify those involved in trouble.

“I can promise we will not hesitate to take robust action against anyone who seeks to commit criminality or intimidate others whilst masquerading as ‘having fun.’  Reports of damage to property or assaults on emergency services personnel will be met with the full weight of the law.”

For more information and advice via Twitter, search #WYHalloween or follow West Yorkshire Police @WestYorksPolice, West Yorkshire Police Customer Contact Centre @WYP_CCC and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue @WYFRS.

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