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Public warned by emergency services and NHS Tayside to take care on Bonfire Night

Burntisland fireworks.
Burntisland fireworks.

Members of the public are being urged to take care this Bonfire Night by NHS Tayside and the emergency services.

The health board along with Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) are urging people to stick to the latest coronavirus restrictions as well as think about the impact that the private use of fireworks can have on both onlookers and the emergency services.

Dr Emma Fletcher, NHS Tayside’s Interim Director of Public Health said: “If people are considering celebrating Bonfire Night, it is really important that they remember to follow the latest guidance.

“The level of coronavirus circulating in the community in Tayside is continuing to rise so please do not visit any other households indoors.

“If you are going meet other households outdoors you must stick to six people from no more than two households and still stay at least 2 metres away from anyone who is not part of your household.”

Fireworks light up the sky in Burntisland in 2019.

With coronavirus restrictions cancelling organised firework displays it is likely that more people will be tempted to get together to hold private firework displays and bonfires in their gardens.

SFRS local senior officer for Dundee, Angus, Perth and Kinross and local area commander, Gordon Pyre reminded people about the threat that the private use of fireworks can pose to onlookers.

He said: “Every year people are injured by fireworks and children in particular are at risk.

“We know some may consider using fireworks within a private setting this year due to Covid-19 leaving many public events cancelled.

“That is why we have created a Fireworks Code which should be your first port of call if you are planning on buying fireworks. It is designed to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

“Bonfire Night is the busiest night of the year for the SFRS and it is vital that Scotland’s emergency services maintain the capacity to respond to emergencies.”

Dr Andrew Bogacz, NHS Tayside consultant in emergency medicine also warned against the dangers of sparklers.

He said: “It is really upsetting to see people especially children, injured by fireworks. It is regrettable that many of the firework-related burn injuries we see in the emergency department could have been avoided if the safety guidance was followed.

“It is easy to forget that, despite how pretty sparklers look, they can inflict a nasty burn if not handled and disposed of correctly. This year I would like to urge everyone to take extra care around fireworks and enjoy their displays safely.”

Gilvenbank Park 2019.

Police Scotland’s Tayside Division Superintendent Elaine Logue added: “Typically, this period is very busy for emergency services and while the cancellation of events and the early or continued closure of licensed venues is likely to result in a reduction in the number of people out and about, we can’t be complacent.

“We have been engaging with young people to highlight the risks associated with reckless behaviour involving fireworks and alcohol.

“Parents and guardians also have a vital role to play in this and I would ask you to have a frank conversation with those in your care about the risks of getting involved in disorder.

“Any behaviour that puts communities at risk, or endangers the safety of emergency services, will not be tolerated.

“Please help us keep the celebrations enjoyable and safe for everyone. The vast majority are complying with the legal restrictions in place and we are grateful for your efforts.”

To read the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Fireworks Code, click here.

Ideas for fun Bonfire Night activities for children and families can be found here.

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