Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) has launched its Halloween and Bonfire Night safety campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the heightened risks at this time of year and to provide practical advice on celebrating safely.
After restricted celebrations last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, MAWWFRS recognises that many will want to return to more usual activities this year. As a result, members of the Fire and Rescue team wish to remind others of some helpful hints and tips to help keep themselves, their families and communities safe.
The Fire and Rescue Service has developed a full suite of information on their website, providing further information on staying safe during the Bonfire Night and Halloween period, along with fun material for children and young adults.
Peter Greenslade, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection said: ‘We want our community to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween and bonfire night. Please consider the potential safety risks associated with Halloween, bonfires and fireworks. There is a heightened risk of serious harm to people and property during these months and we want to ensure that we do all that we can to help highlight dangers you may face and how you can reduce those risks through some simple actions.’
Halloween is a special time for children and young people, and with last year’s restrictions now easing, it will be an opportunity to wear fancy dress costumes and carve pumpkins, but this celebration presents fire risks.
Karen Jones, Head of Community Safety for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue continues: ‘The risks associated with fire are heightened during the Halloween period. The use of naked flames in pumpkins, along with the use of costumes that are potentially non-complaint with fire safety regulations, is a recipe for disaster. Please ensure that any Halloween costumes used have the ‘CE’ mark, consider using LED candles this year and keep exits clear from Halloween decorations. Simple actions can drastically improve the chances of having a safe and happy Halloween.’
- Have you considered the dangers associated with fire and Halloween costumes? It’s vitally important that costumes carry the CE mark on the label. Even so, like all clothing, costumes can easily catch fire. Always supervise children.
- Are your candles putting you at risk? Consider candle alternatives, such as LED candles that will provide the spooky effect required whilst also providing additional benefits such as not being blown out in the wind.
- Can you escape in case of a fire? Keep exits clear and unobstructed, which is a particular issue during Halloween where items are placed around the house and near to exit points for decoration purposes.
Bonfire Night safety:
Bonfire night traditionally has a heavy impact on MAWWFRS and partner agencies. As a result, the Service advises everyone to respect their communities, protect themselves and others from harm, the environment and emergency services, and enjoy events by following basic safety precautions.
Every year, MAWWFRS witnesses dangerous bonfires being built. These bonfires may include items that are toxic and other items that present a danger to spectators, whether it be risk of explosion or other. Not only do these bonfires pose a danger to the public but the environment can be badly affected by poorly built bonfires and arson reduction, and community safety members will be working with police and local authority colleagues to ensure that communities are kept safe.
Richard Vaughan Williams, Arson Reduction Manager for MAWWFRS has extensive experience working with partner agencies on bonfire night and has first-hand experience of what dangers can be faced. ‘This bonfire night may feel different to last year when we were in the height of the pandemic and although we continue to advise against having your own personal displays, we understand that there may still be fewer public displays available to attend. There are serious dangers associated with bonfires, in particular ones that are not professionally organised. Bonfires should be safe and legal, so we have provided information that will assist you to help ensure that you, your family, and our communities are kept safe.’
Traditionally, problems occur also with the use of fireworks, especially when they get into the wrong hands. There are also simple things that can be done to ensure that spectators and the surrounding environment is kept unharmed and undamaged during bonfire night.
Fireworks are graded within categories, will have differing minimum safety distances and have specific instructions that should be adhered to in order to ensure that everyone is kept safe. Many rockets for example require a minimum 25m safety distance, which is the size of an average leisure centre swimming pool. Always buy from a reputable retailer and follow individual firework instructions. Of particular concern is when ‘industrial’ grade fireworks, prohibited for public sale, get into the wrong hands which can cause a very dangerous situation.
Police Sergeant Terri Harrison of the Arson Reduction Team added: ‘Police Officers and PCSOs will be working closely with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service to ensure that we can collectively keep our communities safe this year. Of particular concern is the misuse of fireworks as well as obtaining, possession and use of professional grade fireworks by amateur users, which presents a huge risk to our communities and is against the law. If you do decide to use fireworks, please ensure that it is not in a public place and follow the firework code as listed on our website and purchase from a reputable retailer – be safe, be legal.’
Please visit our website for further information on staying safe during the Bonfire Night and Halloween period, along with fun material for children and young adults.
You can also follow us on our Social Media channels for more safety messages.
Twitter – @mawwfire
Facebook – @mawwfire
Instagram – mawwfire_rescue