This weekend firefighters at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service expect to see an increase in 999 calls to incidents involving fireworks and bonfires.
For firefighters, the following fortnight can be one of the busiest of the year, with crews going out regularly to bonfires that have raged out of control and fireworks which have set fire to hedges, outbuildings and even homes.
Last year, during the Bonfire Night season (October 24 to November 12), crews were called out to a total of 79 fires in Cambridgeshire. During the same period, crews were also called to 53 false alarms.
Andy Tucker, Risk Manager for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are urging people in Cambridgeshire to ensure these events remain fun for everyone involved and that people stay safe this year.
“Bonfires can very easily spread to nearby homes, outbuildings, trees and fences. Fireworks are extremely dangerous if not used correctly and can easily maim or kill the person using them, or those nearby.
“We also get many 999 calls during the bonfire season to incidents that people think are fires, but are actually controlled bonfires in people’s gardens. We would urge people to check –if possible –before dialling 999, but obviously if they are in any doubt they should dial 999 immediately.”
Below is some advice on how to stay safe while making sure your display goes off with a bang:
* Don’t light bonfires in unsuitable weather, particularly in windy
* Don’t leave bonfires unattended. An adult should have the time to
supervise it until all material is consumed.
* If the bonfire has to be left it should be dampened down with water.
Keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe handy just in case.
* Build bonfires well clear of buildings, fences and hedge.
* Take note of the wind direction and ensure smoke from a building
does not enter nearby homes or businesses.
* Never use flammable liquids to start the fire, and never burn
dangerous rubbish such as aerosols, paint, foam furniture, rubber
tyres, batteries, etc.
* Before you light the bonfire, check that children and animals are not
hiding inside and are a safe distance away.
* Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service recommends going to an
organised firework display instead of holding one at home. However, if
you do intend to use fireworks at home, follow the FIREWORK CODE
* Buy fireworks marked BS 7114.
* Keep fireworks in a closed box.
* Follow the instructions on each firework.
* Light them at arms length using a taper.
* Stand well back.
* Never go back to a lit firework.
* Never put fireworks in your pocket.
* Never throw fireworks.
* Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves. Sparklers can reach a
temperature of up to 2,000°C.
* Never give sparklers to children under five.
* It is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18
* It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a
* If it is safe to do so, ensure that the fire is not a managed bonfire
before dialling 999, particularly in the busy period before Bonfire Night.
If you are in anyway unsure if the fire is genuine or not, always dial
* If you own a business or residential property with automatic fire alarms,
ensure that all windows are closed, otherwise smoke from a nearby
bonfire could enter the building and set off the alarms system.