Bonfire Night safety message
Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham has urged communities across Scotland to enjoy a safe Bonfire Night and ease the pressure on emergency services at their busiest time of the year.
She encouraged the public to attend organised fireworks displays, allowing families to enjoy a safe spectacle, while reducing demands on frontline fire & rescue resources.
Bonfire Night is also a time which can see a rise in the number of attacks on firefighters.
Ms Cunningham said: “For the majority of people, Bonfire Night is a time to enjoy family fun with a few sparklers or to go to a bonfire party.
“I would also encourage parents and carers to make sure that they know the whereabouts of their children this weekend and on Bonfire Night, and to attend one of the host of events which I know have been organised across Scotland. I want everyone to enjoy this traditional family celebration safely.
“However, we know from past years that for a mindless minority it is an opportunity to attack or harass those who are there to protect them. We will not tolerate this.
“It is to be welcomed that attacks on firefighters decreased last year and I hope that this trend continues. Our fire and rescue service do a valuable job and should be able to carry out their duties free from assault or harassment. We support police and prosecutors to use the full force of the law to bring anyone guilty of such offences to justice.”
Figures for 2011-12 recorded 112 incidents where attacks on fire fighters occurred; this was a decrease of 60 incidents (35 per cent) from 2010-11.
Ms Cunningham spoke ahead of a week in which she will attend a meeting of the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Board in Perth on Monday (5 November) before launching the Scottish Government’s festive fire safety campaign on Thursday (8 November). This will spread the message of the importance of fire safety in the home.
Alasdair Hay, Chief Officer for Scotland’s new national Fire and Rescue Service, said:
“This is the busiest time of the year for firefighters and support staff working in the fire and rescue service. Our staff are committed to the task of keeping communities safe as they celebrate Guy Fawkes night.
“Our key priorities are public safety and firefighter safety. Please follow our fire safety advice to reduce the likelihood of an accidental injury or fire. Our advice is that attending an organised bonfire and fireworks display is the best way to have fun in a safe environment.
“Remember too that our crews are there to keep you safe and protect communities. Sadly we often see a rise in anti-social behaviour and violence towards crews responding to bonfire calls. This will not be tolerated and we will work closely with our colleagues in the police to report offenders.
“Talk to your children about the important role firefighters fulfil in local communities and make sure we are not hindered in our ability to respond to emergencies. Have a great, safe November 5th.”
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