LISTEN: Ewan Baird explains why it’s important to check up on the safety guidance and observe the COVID restrictions tonight
This year’s Bonfire Night will be held differently to any other before, where usually big community bonfires would be lit up by fireworks dancing above, a quieter approach needs to be taken during the explosive celebration.
Since Perth and Kinross is under tier 2 restrictions, people can only meet up outdoors in groups of six made up of two households to try and slow the spread of the Coronavirus.
The head of the local fire service is expecting that some people will be preparing to organise events out of their own back gardens.
Scottish Fire and Rescue’s Group Commander for Perth and Kinross, Ewan Baird, said: “And one of the things we’ve asked them to do if they do decide to go along this route is firstly, be very aware that the local COVID guidance regarding the amount of people attending and also be very aware of the consequences involved in fireworks can be devastating.
“So you absolutely need to prepare, consider the risks, familiarize yourself with the fireworks code and bonfire safety advice.
“These are on our website, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website, www.firescotland.gov.uk.”
For Mr Baird his concern for safety on the night goes beyond just the immediate result of an accident but also the impact otherwise unnecessary calls have.
He’s worried that calls to irresponsible bonfires take away from the resources available to the service if a serious situation were to happen at the same time.
Mr Baird added: “So now these fire engines are called to bonfires that have been in control, or they’ve been started in a public place where there’s been complaints about it.
“It’s taken away a resource from what we’re predominantly there to do, save lives and go in and tending instance where there’s maybe anti-social behaviours is a huge strain on the fire service. And it’s producing that resource that you’ve got in the area that’s put out to help yourselves.”
And while people are generally aware of the impact fireworks have on domestic animals, Mr Baird highlighted how livestock and wild animals are affected by ‘loud bangs’ too.
‘Livestock, farm animals and birds are also frightened’, says Mr Baird, it’s the ‘bright lights and loud noises’ that can cause distressed animals to injure themselves on fences and farm equipment. ‘Fireworks are highly disturbing to birds, which can cause re-nesting’ he added.
Mr Baird added: ‘Overall, we’d just like everybody to have a safe bonfire night. And it’s just unfortunate the way that the COVID restrictions are placed upon us, that we’re not able to work with our partners in the local authority to create safety events.
“Large-scale bonfires like we have done historically, and hopefully we’ll get back to normal next year.”
Safety is Mr Baird’s biggest priority, he finished saying: “But if you are having a bonfire, all I would ask you to do is stay safe, read the guidance on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Website, and take that all into consideration along with the risks involved.”
For more information on firework safety, find out more on the following link: https://www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/fireworks-safety.aspx