Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Follow the code and have Fireworks Fun 

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Public Safety Minister Edwin Poots and Justice Minister David Ford have urged everyone to follow the firework safety code and have fun this Halloween.

As part of the ongoing Firework Safety Campaign Launch, the Ministers have reinforced the firework safety message as children are about to finish school for the Halloween mid-term break.

The campaign is delivered in partnership between DHSSPS and DOJ, along with all the emergency services to ensure the fireworks safety message is communicated to all who are involved in the organisation of firework displays and to all those participating at this time of year.

Reinforcing the firework safety message Beam Creative Network have been delivering presentations to a number of schools province wide over the past two weeks. Schools have also received Firework Safety Information packs, which were distributed to the young people to take home, ensuring the message reaches their family and friends.

Public Safety Minister Edwin Poots commended the promotion of Firework Safety by Beam Creative Network who have highlighted the dangers associated with the misuse of fireworks. 

He said: “The presentation by Beam demonstrates the dangers of fireworks and how easy it is to mishandle fireworks. We want everyone to enjoy the mid-term Halloween break, fireworks can be extremely dangerous, and we want to prevent injury at all costs. Make sure you handle fireworks responsibly and safely, and remember that fireworks can also have a traumatic effect on pets and farm animals.”

The Justice Minister David Ford again highlighted the legal requirement to secure a licence to use fireworks and the importance of buying from a legitimate supplier. 

He said: “I appeal to those using fireworks to do so safely and legally. Those people who want to purchase fireworks need to obtain a fireworks licence from the Department of Justice, and they must buy from a registered supplier. Buying fireworks without a licence is breaking the law. The Fireworks Safety Code provides good advice on using fireworks and by following these simple safety instructions everyone can enjoy a fun time at Halloween."

The Fireworks campaign is currently running a number of advertisements across television, cinema, radio and social networking sites until the end of October. The campaign aim is to ensure the fireworks safety message is communicated to all who are involved in the organisation of firework displays and to all those participating at this time of year.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Dale Ashford, NIFRS said: “Our Firefighters are visiting schools across Northern Ireland in the run up to Halloween to remind young people of the danger of fireworks and to always follow the Fireworks Code and the manufacturer’s advice on how to light and use fireworks and sparklers correctly. 

“Fireworks are a great Halloween tradition and can be enjoyed safely if people act responsibly and follow the Fireworks Code when lighting and handling fireworks and sparklers. Never go near a lit firework, even if it hasn’t gone off, as it could still explode and always let fireworks cool and dispose of them carefully. Never allow small children or pets to go near fireworks.

“It’s encouraging that last year, the lowest number of firework related injuries was recorded, however 14 people were still injured and injuries from fireworks can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage.” 

The Police and Fire and Rescue Officers have also visited schools and delivered safety presentations, emphasising the importance of firework safety. Sending out a clear message to all young people, that they must act responsibly while handling fireworks to ensure the safety of family, friends and loved ones. 

Chief Superintendent Peter Farrar, PSNI said: “We want Halloween to be a safe and enjoyable time for everyone.

“Most people enjoy the festivities at Halloween, however, there are serious consequences associated with the misuse of fireworks. They should always be used in a safe and responsible manner. Anti-social behaviour can cause fear and distress, especially amongst our older people and more vulnerable members of the community.” 

Brian McNeill, Director of Operations with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service added his support to the campaign: “Injuries that are caused in a moment of carelessness that can never be bought back and can have a debilitating impact that can last forever. NIAS Paramedics have witnessed firsthand the life changing injuries that can be caused by fireworks. We would urge people to follow the Fireworks Code and ensure that an adult is always in charge. Have fun but stay safe!”

Details on using fireworks safely and how to apply for a licence are available from http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/fireworks. Licence applicationsshould be submitted to the Department of Justice by 23 October 2013.

Notes to editors:

1. Information for members of the public on the law on fireworks and advice on using fireworks safely can also be found athttp://www.nidirect.gov.uk/fireworks
2. The partnership which produces the Firework Safety Awareness Campaign was established in 2007 and has also received support from ROSPA, Environmental Health Agency, NI Policing Board and NI Ambulance Service. 
3. In 2012, DHSSPS statistics showed 14 people reported to an emergency care department with a firework related injury. This is 11 fewer than in 2011, and the lowest number since the data collection began in 1996. 
4. During the 2012 Halloween period, 10 of the 14 people injured from fireworks were aged under 18, with 5 of those injured aged under 10. Similarly, during each of the last five years the highest numbers of those injured from fireworks and reporting to emergency care departments were aged under 18.
5. Members of the public are encouraged to pass information about the illegal sale and use of fireworks to the PSNI or Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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