Safe Newcastle is urging residents across Newcastle to play safe this Bonfire night.
Bonfire Night is an exciting time, especially for children and young people. But with it comes dangers from deliberate fires, misuse of fireworks and increased anti-social behaviour.
Through the Darker Nights Campaign, now in its fourth year, Safe Newcastle partners, including Newcastle City Council, Tyne Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Probation Trust, YHN and Northumbria Police are working together to make the city a safer place.
Over the last few weeks officers have been focusing their services to tackle the number of problems that increase around Bonfire Night such as fly tipping, buying and selling illegal fireworks and stockpiling waste for illegal bonfires. Action has been taken against those responsible.
But as the Bonfire weekend begins, the Safe Newcastle needs residents to get involved.
There are a number of simple measures people can take to help make this Bonfire night the safest the city has had:
- Take in wheelie bins and make sure any materials that could be taken to start fires with are stored safely and securely.
- Report piles of waste to Envirocall.
- Report anti-social behaviour and people under 18 carrying or using fireworks to the Police.
- Report shops selling or trading illegal fireworks or to people under age to Trading Standards.
Most importantly though residents should go the organised bonfire and firework displays across the city.
Cllr Linda Hobson of Safe Newcastle said: "Bonfire night is always an incredibly busy time for all our services, this is why its really important our residents get involved. Reporting illegal fires, waste and sales prevents injury and even death from fire and other incidents. Many people don’t realise there are other dangers as well, such as burning treated or painted wood, furnishings or plastics as they release poisonous and toxic gases.
"We want everyone to have the best and safest night they can. By working in partnership we are able to bring together the right expertise and powers from the council, fire and rescue service and police to make sure this happens."
District Manager for Newcastle Peter Iveson, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: "Evidence shows that young people are the most likely to be injured in incidents involving fireworks and bonfires. The face of this year’s Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service bonfire safety campaign, a brave little girl who almost lost her sight in a horrific fireworks accident reminds us all over the dangers of fireworks.
"India Redhead was eight years old when she attended a Bonfire Night party at a neighbour's house last year. She was sitting well away from the fireworks at the bottom of the garden, but the last firework of the night went astray and ricocheted off the fence before hitting her in the left eye."
"India, was treated for her injuries and underwent surgery on her damaged eye. She had her iris removed, leaving her with an enlarged black pupil and some difficulties seeing from that eye. We would encourage everyone to attend professionally organised displays and to report any illegal bonfires that have been built to their local council. That way, we can all have a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night."
Chief Inspector Bruce Storey, from Newcastle Area Command, said: "We want people to enjoy Bonfire Night, however, we will take action against people who misuse fireworks as this has the potential to cause injury and distress to others.
"Anyone caught selling fireworks illegally will also be dealt with appropriately.
"We would always advise people to go to an organised display where they can enjoy fireworks safely.
"We will continue working alongside our partners to make sure Bonfire Night is remembered by everyone for the right reasons."
Offenders on Community Payback supervised by Northumbria probation Trust have also been supporting local communities in preparing for bonfire night.
Martyn Strike, director of Community Payback, Northumbria Probation Trust, said: "Community Payback is about the offenders paying something back to local communities. We work with Safe Newcastle to identify projects which contribute to public safety and this week the offenders have been working with the enforcement teams to clear discarded debris from around the city which might otherwise have been used to start impromptu fires. It’s a great way to support local communities and encourage a sense of responsibility in the offenders, who have worked hard to get the task completed in time."
For information about organised firework and bonfire displays visit www.newcastle.gov.uk.
To report dumping of rubbish and fly-tipping call Envirocall on 0191 274 4000
Report illegal trading to Trading Standards on 0191 211 6121
To report any Anti-Social Behaviour to the Police on 101 extension 69191
In emergencies always call 999.