North Ayrshire public can help prevent Bonfire Night tragedy

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Local senior officer says choosing organised displays will keep the area safe.

People throughout North Ayrshire have been urged to help firefighters protect their communities ahead of Bonfire Night.

The period before 5 November is one of the busiest of the year for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews, with the number of emergency calls typically increasing by as much as 40 per cent.

Area Manager Jim Scott – the local senior officer for East, North and South Ayrshire – has urged residents to recognise the risks and help firefighters prevent serious incidents.

He said: “Many people will celebrate Bonfire Night and we want them to have a great time that doesn’t end in tragedy.

“Fireworks are obviously dangerous and our crews have seen too many incidents where something has gone wrong and people have been left with serious physical injuries, permanent scars and deep emotional trauma.

“The fact is careless and poorly built bonfires threaten to set fire to neighbouring properties – and they also release toxic fumes that cause serious problems for people who have breathing conditions.

“We can all play a part in making our communities safer at this time of year, which is traditionally the busiest period for Scotland’s firefighters.

“Deciding to attend only organised events is by far the best choice anyone can make for themselves, their family and their community.

“We would also encourage the public to report unsafe or dangerous bonfires or bonfire materials and any suspicion of deliberate fire setting.”

There is no shortage of choice for marking Bonfire Night in North Ayrshire this year.

Saltcoats holds the spectacular Fireworks at the Harbour event from 6pm on Sunday 2 November, with Kilwinning hosting Fireworks at the Park from 5:30pm  on 5 November in McGavin Park.

Across the boundary in East Ayrshire, Kilmarnock Fireworks Display takes place at 7:30pm in Kay Park on 5 November.

It is against the law for fireworks to be sold to children and young people. Anyone with information on this happening should report it to Police Scotland or to Trading Standards.

Councillor Marie Burns, North Ayrshire Council cabinet member for economy and employment, said: “Fireworks Night is such a fantastic occasion for families across North Ayrshire, but it’s vital that fireworks are treated with respect because we all know the dangers that they pose if they are not used properly.

“The new legislation will be rigidly enforced and will help make November 5, and the run-up to the big night, far safer for everyone.

“We will be working with the 15 local businesses to make sure they follow these strict guidelines.”

Information about bonfire and fireworks safety is available from SFRS by visiting the website at /your-safety/bonfire-night.aspx

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