Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Spotlight on bonfires and fireworks during strike action

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is urging people not to take risks during four days of strikes by members of the Fire Brigades Union.

They will stage a walk out from 6pm on 31 October until 6pm on 4 November as part of their ongoing dispute with the Government over pensions.  

Contingency crews made of non-FBU members will still respond to emergencies, prioritising where lives are at risk, but cover will be reduced and the public is being asked to do what they can to reduce the need to call 999.

Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Des Prichard said: “The weekend is expected to be particularly popular for people having bonfire and fireworks celebrations and we want to ensure people enjoy themselves safely.

If you can attend a local organised display, please do so. Organisers have to put their own safety measures in place. For example, they should be trained in emergency drills, first aid posts should be manned by qualified people and they should have arranged for fire extinguishers, buckets of water, buckets of sand and metal litter bins to be available on the night.

If you have already bought your own fireworks, please consider re-arranging your celebrations to a night which isn’t affected by strike action. And of course you should always follow the fireworks code.”

The Fireworks code

• Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
• Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
• Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
• Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.
• Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
• Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
• Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
• Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
• Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
• Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

Bonfire safety tips

Please avoid having bonfires at all during the strikes.
Neighbours: Choose a time least likely to affect your neighbours and let them know beforehand so they are less likely to complain

Location: Build the bonfire away from sheds, fences and trees and check there are no cables - like telephone wires - above the bonfire.

Pay attention: Never leave the bonfire unattended and keep children and pets away from the flames.

Burn with care: Don't use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going - it may get out of control quickly. Only burn dry material - not damp, which causes more smoke and don't burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint. Many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode, causing injury.

Put it right out: Once the bonfire has died down, spray the embers with water to stop it reigniting.

Additional information

Additional safety advice can be found at www.esfrs.org

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