‘Stay safe this Halloween’ – Police, NIEA and NIFRS urges local community

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Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Police are urging members of the community to stay safe this Halloween. halloween3While bonfires themselves are not illegal, disposing and burning waste tyres on a bonfire is an illegal activity. Bonfires can be a source of considerable annoyance and are potentially a dangerous source of pollution. Police would encourage everyone to ensure all bonfires are safe and are of no threat to life or property. Newry, Mourne and Down District Commander, Superintendent Simon Walls said, “We are firmly committed to working with our partner agencies, NIEA and NIFRS, and local communities to address any issues related to bonfires as we all have a duty of care to ensure the safety of those involved with or affected by bonfires. He added, “We will fully investigate any complaints in relation to breach of the peace, or any allegations of anti-social behaviour or disorder in relation to bonfires. If you are attending or involved with a bonfire this Halloween the following advice could help.” Always: – Make sure the bonfire is located away from houses, buildings and overhead cables. – Keep the bonfire to a manageable size – the bigger the fire the bigger the risk. Never: – Sleep in a makeshift hut while the bonfire is being built. This could be fatal if the fire is lit prematurely. – Use petrol or paraffin to light the bonfire. Domestic firelighters are safer. – Use old tyres, tar or scrap rubber on the bonfire. Avoid using foam-filled furniture, aerosols, gas cylinders and paint. Uncontrolled burning of these substances can affect air and water quality and harm the environment. Speaking about the environmental impact of burning tyres, an NIEA spokesperson said, “Burning tyres give off toxic smoke which causes harm both to the environment and to members of the community. “Anyone found guilty in the magistrate’s court of disposing of tyres illegally can be subject to considerable fines. These could be up to £50,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months. In the Crown Court there is an unlimited fine and/or up to five years imprisonment.” Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said, “Last Halloween night (2014) Firefighters attended 102 incidents across Northern Ireland. We want everyone in the community to enjoy themselves this Halloween but to do so safely and responsibly. He added, “Bonfires, Fireworks and Sparklers can be dangerous and without proper supervision they can cause serious injury. We would appeal to the public, parents, young people and community leaders to always follow the Firework Code and ensure that fireworks and sparklers are used safely and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.”
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