As emergency services and local councils throughout the UK gear up for one of their busiest times of the year, the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) has called on the public to avoid attending or starting unsafe bonfires.
Services throughout the UK are called to attend up to 50% more fire emergencies on and around November 5th than on any other nights of the year and CFOA's Director of Operations Roy Wilsher warns that "fire, fireworks and alcohol can be a very dangerous combination at garden and street parties".
"When the emergency services are called to attend unsafe bonfires or avoidable fire vandalism it means that operational resources may have to be diverted away from life-threatening accidents and emergencies, with potentially tragic consequences," he added.
"This year we want bonfire night to be one of the safest on record and therefore we are asking members of the public who are thinking of holding their own bonfire or firework display to consider attending an organised display instead. These events are generally safer and more spectacular and therefore more enjoyable for friends and families.”
Fire and Rescue Services throughout the UK have been working very closely with a range of services and organisations to raise awareness of the dangers of unsupervised street bonfires and the misuse of fireworks.
Attending numerous unsafe bonfires and incidents involving fire vandalism and fire-related antisocial behaviour can stretch available operational resources to the limit, placing the public, businesses and firefighters at increased risk.
Lewis Ramsay, CFOA Director of Prevention, Protection and Road Safety said: “We want everyone who chooses to celebrate on bonfire night to be able to, but in a safe way that doesn’t result in accident or injury and does not require the intervention of the emergency services.”