Dangers of fireworks in focus as public displays cancelled
Get the Northern Scot sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
FIRE chiefs are underlining the dangers of fireworks in the run-up to Bonfire Night.
It comes after a number of organised displays were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a number of events across Moray.
Local residents are being reminded that bonfires and the private use of fireworks can cause significant injury and present a particular risk to children, and can also upset pets.
It also has an impact on the emergency services, with firefighters attending more than 2300 deliberate fires during the four-week period leading to Bonfire Night 2019.
Deputy Assistant Chief Officer (DACO) Alasdair Perry, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s head of prevention and protection, said: "First and foremost we would urge all of our communities to follow advice and guidelines around social distancing to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
"We know this means that people may consider hosting their own events this year but we would urge caution around doing so because every year people are injured by fireworks and admitted to hospital - and children are particularly at risk."
He continued: "This is already a traditionally busy period of the year for ourselves and our partners and it is very important that we maintain an ability to respond to other emergencies.
"We are therefore strongly encouraging anyone who does wish to host a private event to reduce the risk by ensuring to familiarise themselves with our firework code and fire safety guidance. Do not take risks because the consequences can be devastating."
The safety message was also backed by Community Safety Minister Ash Denham.
She said: "Bonfire Night this year is going to feel very different and at this usual time for celebration I urge everyone to follow to the Scottish Government’s public health guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).
"It is absolutely vital the public adhere to the rules on meeting up with other households to help stop the spread of the virus.
"The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and all emergency service workers have my complete support, particularly over the busy bonfire season.
"If you are planning to use fireworks please ensure you do this responsibly and safely and follow the appropriate advice on the SFRS website."
For more on how to stay safe this Bonfire Night follow the service's fireworks code .