People in County Durham are being urged to play it safe in the run-up to bonfire night.
Durham County Council is working with other members of the Safe Durham Partnership to ensure residents have a safe and happy 5 November.
From 31 October, neighbourhood wardens will carry out extra patrols in hot spot areas to check for illegal bonfires, which will be removed. They will be on duty until 7 November.
Meanwhile, representatives from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) will be visiting schools around the county to talk about the importance of staying safe around bonfires and fireworks.
Members of the public are asked to play their part in the following ways:
- Only attend organised public firework displays. A list of events can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/fireworks
- Anyone wishing to hold their own display is strongly urged to read firework instructions carefully and keep everyone at a safe distance.
- Only put rubbish and recycling bins out on the day of collection and return them as soon as possible to avoid any waste being used as fuel for bonfires.
- Ensure yards and gardens are clear of rubbish that could be set alight or used for bonfires.
- Don’t buy fireworks from social media sites or from private houses as sellers are often unlicensed and the fireworks supplied can be both illegal and dangerous.
- Report the sale of fireworks to children or the sale of illegal fireworks, such as bangers and mini rockets, to Durham County Council’s firework hotline on 03000 260 913.
- Report illegal bonfires by calling 03000 260 000.
- Remember that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be in possession of fireworks in a public space.
Members of the council’s trading standards team will be out and about visiting retailers over the coming weeks to offer advice about the safe storage and sale of fireworks.
They will be reminding them that they need a licence to sell fireworks and they will be committing an offence if they:
- Sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18.
- Sell fireworks that are louder than 120 decibels
- Sell fireworks that do not meet BS7114, that do not conform to the EU equivalent or, under new legislation about to come into force, do not carry a CE mark.
Retailers and residents are also reminded that certain fireworks, including bangers, air bombs and jumping jacks, are banned in the UK. This is regardless of whether they are CE marked and approved for sale in other EU countries.
Andrew Allison, community safety manager for CDDFRS, said: “Fireworks can seriously injure and scar people for life if they are not treated with care. It is important that they meet safety standards and they should also be stored properly. The smart way to stay safe is to go to an organised display. You’ll see a lot more fireworks and it’s a lot cheaper. If you are planning to use fireworks at home then please follow the firework safety code.”
Ian Hoult, Durham County Council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “Bonfire night is an exciting and fun time and we want to make sure that it’s also safe for everyone involved.
“We will be working extremely hard in the run-up to 5 November to remove illegal bonfires, make sure retailers behave responsibly and ensure children understand the importance of firework safety.
“However, there is much that residents can do too, from reporting illegal bonfires to only attending official firework displays. We’re asking the public to think of their own safety and that of their local community during the coming weeks.”
More information about fireworks and the law is available at www.durham.gov.uk/fireworks