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Lots of fire-work for GMFRS this weekend - stay safe

FIREFIGHTERS are gearing up for the busiest night of year and urging people to go to professionally organised displays to help them have a safe and happy Bonfire Night.

In 2014 Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) attended 344 incidents on Bonfire Night, successfully reducing that number to 237 by 2016. A large part of this 31 per cent reduction is down to better education around bonfire and firework safety delivered by the Service.

Of the incidents attended last year, one of the most shocking involved a car being pushed into a bonfire. When firefighters arrived at the incident to bring the fire under control they were met by a group of youths who had gathered and were throwing and letting off fireworks at the crew. Police had to be called and were able to disperse the youths, allowing the firefighters to do their job and bring the flames under control.

But despite the reduction in call-outs attended, the number of firework related incidents GMFRS has been called to increased by 35 per cent between 2014 and 2016. Last year firefighters were called to 66 firework related incidents – one involved a stray firework that caused a significant house fire and could have had far more serious consequences.

Three fire engines attended the incident in Salford that began at the rear of the house. A stray firework had landed near furniture stacked up against the backdoor, causing the furniture to catch fire, quickly spreading to the kitchen, utility room and upstairs bedroom.

Luckily nobody was injured but firefighters spent hours extinguishing the blaze.

GMFRS’ Director of Prevention and Protection, Assistant County Fire Officer Geoff Harris, said: “Our main aim over the Bonfire weekend is for everybody to have a great time but to stay safe whilst doing so.  

“Some fireworks can be extremely dangerous - be it how they’re stored or how they’re made. If you know of any potentially dangerous fireworks or people that own them, then please call our Fireworks Amnesty on 0800 555 815, and we will dispose of them safely for you, no questions asked." 

The best way to stay safe this weekend is to attend an organised event but if you are going to have your own bonfire or fireworks display please follow this simple advice: 

  • Do not burn, aerosols, batteries, bottles, tyres or tins on (or) paint
  • Bonfires should be 18 metres from buildings, trees, fences, overhead cables and car parking areas and no more than 3 metres high, with a barrier in place to keep spectators at least 5 metres away
  • Use firelighters to get your bonfire going – not petrol, paraffin, diesel or white spirit
  • Only buy fireworks marked CE
  • Store fireworks in a closed metal box
  • Light them at arms-length using a taper
  • Never go back to a lit firework
  • Never throw fireworks or keep them in your pockets
  • Stand well back when fireworks are being set off
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby if setting off fireworks in your garden
  • Keep pets indoors
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix

ACFO Harris added: "Our advice is to attend a professionally organised display - there are now some fantastic organised events across Greater Manchester that offer a spectacular fireworks display from a safe distance and provide good value fun for all the family. 

“To find a display near you, visit our website www.safe4autumn.com.”

Last update: 06/11/2017 15:22:10
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