Kerry Fire & Rescue Service Issue Halloween Advice

Parents and young people need to be extra vigilant in relation to personal safety during the Halloween period, according to Kerry County Fire Service. Each year, Accident & Emergency departments are filled with children who receive horrific and painful injuries as a result of the misuse of fireworks and bonfires.

With Halloween fast approaching, the fire safety officers in Kerry want people to be aware of the dangers that the occasion can bring and the injuries and deaths that might occur. They are issuing the following advice:

Bonfires

Bonfires are a big part of Halloween and often contain highly combustible materials that can cause breathing problems and severe burns. Halloween and the preceding weekend are the busiest time of the year for the fire services.  We would urge parents to make sure that their children do not attend unsupervised bonfires

We are asking parents/responsible people to be aware of some safety points if they are considering building a bonfire:

Siting and Construction of Bonfires

  • Sites should be a minimum of 18m from buildings, crops, trees and other combustible items.
  • Additional allowance in distance may have to be made depending on the strength and direction of the wind.
  • Beware of ESB overhead power cables, telephone lines, etc when deciding on the site for the bonfire.
  • Where the public will be involved, the bonfire should be roped off to a minimum distance of 6m around its perimeter.
  • Undergrowth on the site should be cleared, and any grass cut short in the vicinity of the bonfire.
  • The materials to be burnt on the fire should be carefully selected to exclude hazardous rubbish, e.g. aerosols, paint tins, drums and bottles which can explode, and tyres and foam filled furniture which give off volumes of black smoke and can fall off the fire when alight.
  • Care should be taken in the construction of the bonfire to ensure as far as possible that the bonfire is evenly built and will not fall over once alight.

Supervision of Bonfires

  • The site is to be under the supervision of a responsible person.
  • An adequate number of stewards should be appointed and should be clearly recognisable.
  • Before lighting the bonfire, check to make sure that no children or animals are next to it.
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to light a bonfire.
  • Buckets of water and/or beaters should be available for tackling any small fires caused by flying brands.
  • Ensure that the bonfire is supervised by adults at all times and keep people at a safe distance back from the fire.
  • The location of the nearest telephone and the arrangements for calling the fire service should be known to the responsible person and stewards.
  • If the bonfire gets out of control, dial 999 or 112 for the Fire and Rescue Service immediately.
  • The stewards / responsible persons should that the fire is fully extinguished before leaving the bonfire area

Fireworks

Fireworks are effectively illegal in Ireland the exception being licensed, professional firework display companies.  Most of the illegal fireworks and bangers on sale in markets and from street traders throughout the country are sub-standard and liable to cause injury.  Illegal fireworks are manufactured without safety standards and can cause serious damage to children.  Parents should monitor their children and ensure they do not play with fireworks. Every year children end up tragically injured and often scarred for life.

If people still wish to use fireworks the following safety points should be followed.

  • Keep fireworks in a closed box. Take them out one at a time.
  • Follow the instructions on each firework carefully. Read them by torch light – never a naked flame.
  • Keep pets indoor.
  • Never smoke while handling fireworks
  • Light fireworks at arm’s length using a safety fireworks lighter or fused wick.
  • Retreat quickly after lighting and stand well back.
  • Never go back to a firework once lit – it may still be live and could go off in your face.
  • Fireworks should never be thrown, kept in pockets or played with.
  • Never fire rockets or other aerial fireworks over the heads of spectators.
  • Do not let children collect used fireworks.
  • Used fireworks should be collected using a tongs, one hour after the display with the utmost care. These should be doused in water and placed in a metal bucket.

General tips:

  • Trick or Treating: Parents are also advised to ensure that their children are accompanied whilst visiting houses to seek Halloween treats. It is particularly important that children's fancy dress outfits do not contribute to accidents, long outfits can sometimes cause children to trip and fall. Masks should not obscure vision, reduce hearing or interfere with normal breathing.
  • Parent & children should carry flash lights when out trick or treating.
  • Please ensure that all pets and animal are kept indoors.
  • Home Safety: Ensure candles are supported solidly to avoid falling over, that they are not left unattended and that they are fully extinguished at night time.

 

                                Have a wonderful and safe Halloween.

Kerry County Council, Co. Buildings, Rathass, Tralee

Phone: (066) 718 3500     Email: info@kerrycoco.ie

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