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Fire service issue bonfire safety message

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 18:15 GMT on Saturday, November 5th, 2011.

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STRATHCLYDE Fire and Rescue are asking people to be vigilant and be safe throughout Guy Fawkes Night.

In the announcement, which was made today, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue urged local communities to remain vigilant, in an attempt to help fire crews minimise unnecessary call-outs.

Last year, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue were called out to over 1'500 emergency calls, to incidents involving bonfire material, such as the burning of rubbish bins, refuse skips and unoccupied buildings.

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Strathclyde and Fire's Director of Community Safety and Assistant Chief Officer, Lewis Ramsay said: "If we are attending numerous nuisance fires or unsafe bonfires at this time of year there may be a delayed response to a serious fire emergency. As a direct consequence of deliberate fire-setting, people and property are at increased risk at this time of year.

"SFR is supporting improved refuse uplift and clean-up arrangements throughout the bonfire and firework period and also calling for increased support from Local Authorities and vigilance from the public to ensure dangerous bonfires are reported and uplifted.

"Deliberate fire-setting is also a growing environmental problem, with the toxic combustion products and carbon emissions arising from bonfires and deliberate fires significantly adding to concerns about climate change. Fire officers are also advising that people with respiratory problems such as asthma should not be exposed to smoke or fumes from bonfires or fireworks.

"The message is simple; fire causes injury, it damages property and smoke is harmful to people and the environment." 

Director of Community Safety and Assistant Chief, Mr Ramsay, also talked of the importance of properly organised bonfire displays: "Whilst a safely organised garden or street bonfire can be fun, it is an offence to light a fire in a public place which alarms, annoys or endangers people or property. It is also illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be sold or be in possession of fireworks and an offence to let fireworks off in a public place. Responsible parents are asked to ensure that children and young people do not have access to fireworks, cigarette lighters or matches.

"Ensuring the safety of the public is our main concern and we would advise all members of the community to think carefully about the safety risks and environmental damage caused by bonfires and fireworks, and encourage them to attend and enjoy a safely organised public display."

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