Brigade issues Guy Fawkes plea

Cleveland Fire Brigade has appealed to local people to act responsibly in the days leading up to Bonfire Night to avoid injury to themselves and others.

The call, from the Brigade’s Arson Reduction and Fire Investigation Manager Steve Johnson, comes after a study revealed that 65 people were taken to the University Hospital of South Tees alone over a three-week period last year after sustaining bonfire or firework-related injuries. 

The most common injury was burns to people’s hand/fingers (22) whilst seven others suffered injuries to their face.

The study, which was carried out between 22 October and 12 November 2010 also shows that there were 196 deliberate rubbish fires, many of which were unofficial bonfires. Fourteen of these incidents involved fireworks.

Earlier this month the Brigade warned people that it is an offence to have an unofficial bonfire and urged residents to report any sites to their local council so that they could be removed.

The study also shows that the four Cleveland councils removed over 80 tonnes of rubbish this time last year that was destined to be set alight during official bonfires.

Steve Johnson said: “Despite the fact that the Fire Brigade has a hard-hitting Bonfire/Fireworks campaign every year to warn people of the dangers, the statistics show that a very small minority of people are still putting their lives and the lives of others at risk.

“We will certainly not give up in our efforts to get important safety messages across to the people of Cleveland. We are not killjoys; all we are asking is that people follow some simple advice to stay safe.”

If you can attend an organised fireworks display, but if you put on a home display, follow these simple tips to have a safe good time:

  1. Only buy fireworks which comply with the British Standard (B7114)
  2.  Follow the Firework Code
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box
  • Follow the instructions on each firework
  • Light all fireworks at arm’s length
  • Stand well back
  • Never go back to a lit firework
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket
  • Never throw fireworks
  • Keep pets indoors

3.  Take extra care with children and sparklers!

Over half the injuries every year are to children under the age of 15. The most common injuries are to the hand, wrists and eyes and most of these are caused by sparklers:

  • Always supervise children with sparklers
  • Teach them to hold the sparkler at arm’s length, but not near anyone else
  • Never give sparklers to children under 5 years of age
  • Keep a container of water handy, big enough and deep enough to put a spent sparkler in and put the sparkler in it as soon as it goes out.

Click to view further information, including organised fireworks displays