Partners unite to reduce the risk of bonfire mishaps

THINK safety first is the message for Guy Fawkes’ Night next week.

Police, fire officers and council officials have been out in the community warning of the dangers of Bonfire Night on November 5 and trying to reduce the risks.

Neighbourhood officers from Northumbria Police, along with Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, have been visiting schools to encourage classroom discussions about the risks of fireworks and advise that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy them.

Officers are also working with Northumberland County Council staff to spot unauthorised bonfires that could pose a safety threat to homes, businesses and vehicles. Such bonfires will be swiftly removed.

Meanwhile, Trading Standards officers have been carrying out inspections alongside the fire service to ensure retailers selling fireworks are storing them correctly and complying with legislation.

And Environmental Health teams have warned of the danger of adding toxic material to bonfires in gardens.

The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership has urged people planning to set off fireworks on the beach to clean up the remains as soon as it is safe to do so.

Finally, Northumberland Chief Fire Officer Alex Bennett has urged people to attend public events, rather than organise their own.

“We encourage people taking part in Bonfire Night to attend organised displays for their own safety and the safety of others. These events are much safer and more spectacular than having fireworks at your own home,” he said.

To report unauthorised bonfires call 0845 600 6400.