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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Safety advice for Halloween and Bonfire Night

Denbighshire County Council’s Trading Standards Section and North Wales Police say they will be working to try and make Halloween and Bonfire night as enjoyable as possible for local people.

A spokesperson from Denbighshire Trading Standards Section has said: “October 31 and November 5 are dates that have long been associated with parties and family fun, but for some they can be nights to forget.   

"On Halloween elderly people can be left frightened and intimidated by youngsters calling at their home asking for trick or treat - particularly when the callers are in costume.

"Similarly, families can find their evenings disrupted and their pets driven to distraction by the blasts and bangs from fireworks exploding on Bonfire Night.

"Nuisance behaviour at Halloween had been a recurring problem in years gone by. In relation to anti-social behaviour Halloween has often been a bigger problem than Bonfire Night.  

"This is because of the shock some elderly and vulnerable people get when they find someone dressed in a terrifying outfit on their doorstep or from people persistently knocking on their doors.

"We don't want to stop anyone enjoying themselves, but we would ask that they bear in mind the elderly and vulnerable people in our community who may not want callers knocking on their door late at night.

"We would ask the youngsters who got out trick or treating to make Halloween as pleasant as possible for the households they call on, by being polite and courteous to those they meet. Parents should ensure that their children are suitably advised as to possible ramifications involving elderly residents. A message they may wish to employ is to imagine they are visiting their own grandparents.

"Many of the problems associated with Bonfire night would not take place if certain residents just stopped to think of being more neighbourly.

"There are several organised displays in Denbighshire, scheduled for Bonfire night and we would recommend people attend those rather than have their own fireworks party in their back garden, for both safety and social reasons.

"However, if people want to hold their own event we would ask that they inform their neighbours well ahead of time, by calling in person or by popping a note through their letterbox. Many complaints spring out of people not telling their neighbours that they are planning to hold a firework display at their home and most importantly when the fireworks were going to be let off.

"The residents then have a chance to make arrangements in relation to any pets they may keep, or to make plans to go out if they don't want to listen to the noise.

"We would also ask that people, no matter how experienced, please take all the usual safety precautions, accidents happen when you become lax about the danger that you may be in.

"Fireworks are explosives and should be treated with great care and respect." The council and the police have issued the following safety advice:

1.        Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 and from reputable outlets.
2.        Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
3.        Keep fireworks in a closed box.
4.        Follow the instructions on each firework.
5.        Light them at arm's length, using a taper.
5.        Stand well back.
6.        Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn't gone off, it could still explode.
7.        Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
8.        Always supervise children around fireworks.
9.        Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
10        Never give sparklers to children under five.
11.        Keep pets indoors.
12.        Don't set off noisy fireworks late at night and never after 11pm.
13.         If having a bonfire, prior to lighting check carefully for wildlife and when finished dampen it down fully. Never light or store fireworks near the bonfire.

Anyone that chooses to use fireworks in an anti-social and irresponsible manner could find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Under the Fireworks Act there is a now a curfew preventing people from letting off fireworks between 11pm and 7am.  I

If people are holding a fireworks party on November 5, the last rocket must have gone off by 11pm or they could find themselves liable for prosecution.

It is now illegal for children under 18 to buy or in fact be in the possession of fireworks.

Denbighshire Trading Standards will be undertaking inspections and test purchases to each premise which sell fireworks to ensure compliance with firework legislation and age restricted products.

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