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Caithness News Bulletins October 2003

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In the run up to Guy Fawkes’ Night on 5 November, the Highland public is being urged not to be tempted to buy fireworks, from anyone other than established retail outlets.

The Highland Council’s Head of Trading Standards, Nigel MacKenzie made this plea in response to a reported increase, in the UK generally, of illicit sales of fireworks taking place from the back of vans, from car boot sales, market stalls and by individuals in pubs.

Mr MacKenzie said: “There is no way that explosives such as fireworks can be legally sold in such circumstances. Those who do so are breaking the law and the public should ask the following questions: -

    ·       Do the fireworks they are selling meet safety standards?

    ·       Are they types of fireworks, which can be legally supplied to the general public?

    ·       Are they selling them to children and young people under 18?

    ·       Where are they storing these fireworks?

“The strict legal controls on the manufacture, supply, storage and use of fireworks are there for good reason and any failure to abide by the law could put the public in danger.”

In this year’s campaign, the Trading Standards Unit are co-operating closely with Northern Constabulary and Highland and Islands Fire Brigade in trying to get the message across to retailers and the public and therefore hopefully minimise the dangers and nuisance from fireworks. Everyone needs to bear in mind that although the numbers of people injured in fireworks related incidents in the UK fell last year, they reached an all time high in Scotland.

In the hope of heading off the potential development of any illegal storage and supply activities, Trading Standards officers will be visiting known firework retailers,  keeping an eye on car boot sales and market stalls as well as following up on any information received from the public and businesses.

Anyone who becomes aware of the sort of illegal activity described should report the matter to: -

The TRADING STANDARDS UNIT,     Tel.    0845 600 4222,
Call            CRIMESTOPPERS           Tel.    0800 555 111

Highland and Islands Fire Brigade Firemaster, Brian Murray, has issued strong warning in the run up to Guy Fawkes’ Night, saying: “Fireworks are dangerous and can be lethal.”

He said: “The utmost care is necessary in their storage, handling and use whether you are organising a display for the family, friends or general public.  Highland and Islands Fire Brigade wants you to have a safe event – by following some simple do’s and don’ts risks can be greatly reduced.”

Do’s and Don’ts
·       Don’t consume alcohol when setting off fireworks
·       Keep fireworks in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time
·       Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on each firework.  Read them by torchlight – NEVER by naked flame
·       Light fireworks at arms length using a taper
·       Stand back after lighting
·       Never go back to a lit firework it may go off in your face
·       Keep a bucket of water handy
·       Always supervise children
·       Keep pets indoors

Do’s and Don’ts

·       Site well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs and ALWAYS AWAY FROM FIREWORKS

·       Before lighting the fire check that no children or pets are hiding inside it
·       Build the stack so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side NEVER use flammable liquids, paraffin or petrol to light the fire

·       Don’t burn foam filled furniture, aerosols, tins of paint or bottles
·       Keep everyone away from the fire, especially children, who must be supervised at all times
·       In case of emergency keep buckets of water a garden hose or fire extinguisher ready
·       Pour water on the embers before leaving
·       Bonfires present additional hazards when its dark

Northern Constabulary supports Firework Safety 2003
Bonfire night can be and should be one of the most exciting times of the year, but as many families have discovered it can also be the most painful and distressing.

Northern Constabulary, along with its partners, is committed to promoting firework safety at a time of year when safety is of massive importance.

The Department of Trade and Industry, along with Northern Constabulary, Highland and Islands Fire Service, Fight for Sight and the Child Accident Prevention Trust are working together to make sure families do not have a Firework Night to remember for the wrong reasons.

One frightening fact relates to sparklers, normally thought to be the tamest of all fireworks. They can reach a temperature of 2000 degrees celcius, which is 15 times the boiling point of water.

Constable David Sutherland of Northern Constabulary’s Community Safety unit said: “We would encourage the proper use of fireworks, under controlled supervision as we approach the festive firework season.

“Fireworks of any kind, if not used in accordance with the guidelines given by the firework safety team, can be extremely dangerous and sometimes lethal.

“Our message is always read instructions before lighting a firework. Any contact with fireworks, particularly rockets, can lead to permanent disfigurement or in some cases death.”

Parents are also being asked to be aware of their child’s movements around this time and to make sure they are not involved in the misuse of fireworks.

Constable Sutherland added: “Have a safe firework night and don’t have one you will remember for all the wrong reasons.”

Rockets can reach speeds of up to 150 mph.   Government statistics revealed that rockets caused more injuries than any other firework in 2000.  Last year 135 people were injured by rockets, 104 by sparklers and 93 by bangers in the UK.