East Dunbartonshire fire commander calls on public to help prevent Bonfire tragedy

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East Dunbartonshire’s fire and rescue commander has urged residents to attend organised Guy Fawkes events so they can respond quickly to other emergencies.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) senior officer, Area Manager Jim Hymas, made clear that choosing to attend only official bonfire events will help keep people, property and vital resources safe.

He said: “Every year careless bonfires take firefighters away from other incidents – putting lives at risk.

“Bonfire Night is the busiest time of year for the fire service and we typically see a 40 per cent increase in emergency calls.

“We always sufficient resources to respond to emergencies but having to tackle dangerous and illegal bonfires means it could take crews longer to attend serious incidents, with potentially tragic consequences.”

Illegal bonfires and do-it-yourself fireworks displays can also go wrong in an instant and SFRS is clear everyone has a role to play in protecting their community.

It is against the law for fireworks to be sold to children or young people and anyone who is concerned this is happening in their area should contact Police Scotland by calling 101.

Area Manager Hymas added: “By reporting unsafe or dangerous bonfires or bonfire materials, or any suspicions of deliberate fire setting, the public really can help to keep our communities safer.

“Fireworks cause lifelong scars and even if the physical ones eventually heal, the psychological trauma may never go away so if anyone does decide to hold their own fireworks display then it is absolutely vital they follow the fireworks code.

“Children should always be supervised by a responsible adult and kept well away from fireworks, under-fives should never be given sparklers and older children should only be allowed to hold them after being shown to keep them at arm’s length.”

He continued: “When going to watching fireworks kids should never be dressed in loose or flowing clothes as these could easily catch fire.

“We want everyone to enjoy the celebrations in safety. By choosing to attend only official bonfire events people will enjoy the most spectacular displays and help to ensure firefighters can get to where they are most needed.”

SFRS have produced guidance and safety tips about Bonfire Night 2015, available online now at http://bit.ly/SFRSbonfire2015.

The advice includes information about bonfire and fireworks safety, with a downloadable bonfire and fireworks safety leaflet available, along with links to TV, radio and press advertisements.