Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Remember, remember, fireworks are dangerous.

Today is the 5th of November, when people celebrate by letting off explosive devices, without the slightest problem about terrorist activity. It is fireworks night!

Now I have no problems with fireworks in organised displays, because they have set times. What I object to is the random setting off fireworks by individuals from now for at least a month, sometimes even longer if they have the odd firework left over to set off New Year’s Eve. And there is a lot of that about.

So here are some firework stories - mostly from this year already - about how hazardous fireworks can be, and why it is perhaps time to restrict their use to organised displays. There are responsible individuals who take care and have firework parties, but there are a quite a few careless or malicious users of fireworks.

FIREWORK hooligans have been issued with a tough warning by Bradford's public safety boss following two incidents where people were put at risk.

In one incident a terrified family were ambushed in their home by hooded yobs who hurled a lit firework into the building, leaving two asthmatic brothers aged 10 months and two years old needing hospital treatment.

Another resulted in the arrest of a man at City Park, Bradford, following reports that fireworks were being hurled around the area mid afternoon.

A firework which was set off in the centre of a north town on Friday night then entered a nearby house and caused damage.

The incident happened at a property in Traill Street in Thurso at about 11.10pm. Two fire appliances from the town were called to the scene and the firework was extinguished straight away.

A police spokesman said that the damage appeared to have been caused by a firework being set off nearby and then flying into the house.

A Dundee chip shop owner is demanding action after claiming children as young eight have been setting off fireworks. Graeme Squire, 50, who runs Tony’s fish and chip shop in Mid Craigie, said he saw a group of youths letting off bangers before running away in the Linfield Street area on Friday afternoon. He now wants to find out how youngsters are getting their hands on the potentially dangerous devices.

The action call comes just days after a group of youths set off fireworks in a car park near Asda in Milton of Craigie. One resident said the youngsters were lighting them and throwing them into people’s gardens.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman confirmed officers had received reports of fireworks being set off, but no one was caught.

A Birmingham schoolboy has been treated for serious injuries to his eye and hand after a firework he was holding exploded. A spokeswoman said: “Crews were called to a teenager who had reportedly become injured when a firework that he had been holding exploded.

“On arrival at the scene, crews found a 15 year old boy who had sustained a serious eye injury and an injury to his hand. Crews treated and dressed his injuries at the scene before conveying the teenager to the specialist eye unit at City Hospital for further assessment and treatment.”

The spokesman added: “Unfortunately despite the many warnings issued at this time of year our crews are sadly all too familiar with people who have injured themselves in firework incidents.

Paramedics in Birmingham are urging revellers to stay safe this Bonfire Night after revealing they attended several incidents last year where fireworks exploded in people's hands.

WMAS Area Manager, Martyn Scott, said: "These injuries will remain with that person for the rest of their life, and in most cases we know that they could have so easily been avoided.

"It appears that people don’t realise they are holding an explosive device in their hands when they light a firework; it is always alarming when people are surprised that they get injured.

Firefighters last night attended a fire in Telford caused by spent fireworks put into a recycle bin, which could have resulted in a family’s home being destroyed.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, Area Manager Andy Johnson said: “The attending crews quickly dealt with the fire and used thermal imaging cameras to make sure that there was no fire in the roof of the property. Upon speaking to the occupiers it became evident that they had placed the remains of some fireworks, which they had set off in their back garden, into their recycle bin believing them to be fully extinguished. Unfortunately, about an hour later the family smelt smoke in their house which alerted them to the significant fire that was threatening their home.”

Mr Johnson asked everyone to very careful when they dispose of their fireworks. “Whilst they may feel cold to the touch on the outside, they may still be smouldering inside.” He advises people to leave the remains of any fireworks in a bucket of water overnight and then dispose of them the following day. He pointed out that “Even better advice would be for everyone to go to properly organised events, where the organisers take responsibility for the safe disposal of the fireworks.”

At around 10.30pm yesterday (Friday, October 31), officers conducting routine enquiries parked a marked police vehicle in Devonshire Street. While unattended, a window of the vehicle has been smashed and a firework thrown inside. Officers discovered the damage and removed the firework before extensive damage was caused.

Detective Constable Shaun Topham, of Kirklees CID, said: “Although the damage on this occasion was minimal the impact on the local community is far greater. The police vehicle has had to be taken out of operational use and as a result one less vehicle is available to attend both emergency and non-emergency calls from the public.”

Deadly and illegal fireworks are being sold in West Yorkshire.

The bangers are thought to originate from Eastern Europe or China and consumer watchdogs believe they are being offered at car boot sales or on markets.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service is warning traders and members of the public to be on the lookout for the potentially dangerous fireworks.

Due to their use in incidents of anti-social behaviour and associated safety concerns, bangers were banned outright in the UK in 1997, followed a few years later by bans on air bombs and restrictions on the dimensions of mini rockets.

However, it now appears that unscrupulous suppliers are ignoring the ban and continuing to supply them.

During Hallowe'en and the Bonfire Night period, please spare a thought for the animals and birds who may be terrified by the deafening crashes and blinding flashes.

Traumatised dogs are rushed to vets for emergency treatment; sheep can spontaneously abort; horses gallop into fences; and rabbits have been known to die from the shock.

Animal Aid believes that – for the sake of all animals – fireworks should be sold only to organisers of public events and not to individuals wishing to set them off in their gardens or in the street.

A ban on sales to the general public would also prevent the terrible cruelties reported every year of vicious individuals deliberately harming animals with fireworks.

Data collected across Britain in previous years shows that, on average, around 1,000 people visit A&E for treatment of a firework-related injury in the four weeks around Bonfire Night, with half of the injuries being suffered by under-18s. 

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