Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is reminding people to be responsible and stay safe when building and attending bonfires. Last year, NIFRS attended 28 bonfire related incidents on the 11th July.
NIFRS is reminding everyone that if Firefighters respond to an emergency call to a bonfire it is because someone in the area is concerned about the bonfire getting out of control. Firefighters are not out to spoil anyone’s fun, their job is to protect life and property from the dangers of fire.
Peter Craig, Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said -
“Traditionally the 11th July has been one of the busiest nights of the year for NIFRS however I’m pleased to report that over the past three years the number of bonfire related incidents we have been required to deal with on the 11th night has steadily decreased. (61% reduction over 3 years from 2009-2010)
“Although I welcome this reduction we can not become complacent and that is why I want the public to follow our Bonfire Safety Advice when building and attending bonfires.
“Bonfires can easily get out of control if they are not built safely and properly supervised. Bonfires should be kept to a manageable size and sited in a clear unenclosed space at a safe distance from buildings and overhead cables. As a rule of thumb the bonfire should be a minimum distance of five times its height from property. The bonfire should not contain any potentially hazardous material and never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin as these can produce explosive vapours. Remember should your Bonfire get out of control dial 999 immediately
“I would also appeal to people not to threaten or attack our Fire Crews responding to emergency calls in the vicinity of bonfires. I’m asking the community for their support to ensure that Firefighters are able to carry out their job without fear of attack or harassment.
“Firefighters are not out to spoil anyone’s fun, we simply ask that you act responsible, stay safe and respect the job that your local Firefighters do in protecting our community.”
NIFRS has provided the following safety advice for people building and attending bonfires.
- Site the bonfire well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs
- As a guide allow a ratio of 1:5, i.e. the distance from the bonfire to the nearest property should be 5 times the height of the bonfire
- Build the stack so that it is stable and will not collapse
- Never build a hut or den inside the bonfire
- Do not burn foam filled furniture, tyres, aerosols, tins of paint or bottles
- Responsible adults should look after lighting the bonfire. Before lighting the fire check that no children or pets are hiding inside it
- Never use flammable liquids (petrol or paraffin) to light the fire – use domestic firelighters
- Keep everyone away from the fire – especially children who must be supervised at all times
- For an emergency keep buckets of water, a garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready
- At any sign of danger or in the event of an emergency ring Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service on 999 for assistance
Notes to Editors:
Bonfire Related Incidents Attended on 11th July
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