As Halloween and Bonfire night approach, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is encouraging residents to plan ahead and enjoy the celebrations safely and responsibly.

NFRS has issued a number of safety tips and is encouraging residents wanting to enjoy fireworks to attend organised displays which are being held across the north east.

Mark McCarty, deputy chief fire officer, said: “Fireworks and bonfires are a lot of fun but it’s so important for residents to be cautious and to enjoy the celebrations responsibly.

“Acting irresponsibly around fires and fireworks can have devastating effects, can cause life threatening injuries and can even cost lives.

“Where possible we recommend residents to visit organised public firework displays which are safer and more cost effective but if anyone is planning their own display, please follow our safety advice very carefully.”

NFRS will be working closely with Northumbria Police to make sure residents enjoy a safe Halloween and Bonfire night.

Chief Inspector Aidan Sloan, from Northern Area Command, said: “We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night this year, so we are encouraging people to go to an organised fireworks display rather than have their own bonfire.

“We will be working with our partners to crack down on any illegal bonfires and underage fireworks sales over the coming weeks.

“Unauthorised bonfires can lead to damaged property and also increase the risk of injury. Officers will also be targeting any acts of anti-social behaviour which involve fireworks over the next few weeks.”

“Anyone with concerns about fireworks related disorder, or anti-social behaviour where they live, should contact their neighbourhood policing team on 101.”

The council is also doing its bit to promote bonfire and firework safety by setting up a special web page highlighting where organised displays are in and around the county, and promoting straightforward safety tips.

Top 10 safety tips for enjoying fireworks and bonfires safely:

  1. Avoid wearing loose clothing or closing that is labelled ‘highly flammable’
  2. Always wear gloves when handling sparklers and fireworks
  3. Always have buckets of water ready to put out small fires or to cool sparklers
  4. Make sure children are supervised around fireworks and bonfires
  5. Never drink alcohol if you’re setting off fireworks
  6. Keep animals indoors and close curtains
  7. Only purchase fireworks that are sold by a registered seller
  8. Follow instructions carefully and light fireworks at arm’s length
  9. Ensure spectators stand back from bonfires and fireworks
  10. Never go back to a firework that has been lit – even if it hasn’t gone off

If you’re building a bonfire you must only do so on private land. The fire should be at least 18 metres from buildings or trees and away from electricity or telephone lines.

Aerosols, tyres, plastics or anything containing foam or paint should not be used on any fire as they produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode – only burn wood, paper, cardboard and foliage.

For a list of organised public display in and around Northumberland and for a full list of safety advice, visit www.northumberland.gov.uk/fireworks