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Fire service and Trading Standards safety plea to Surrey residents ahead of Hallowe’en and bonfire night

With so many organised firework displays cancelled this year due to COVID-19, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards are reminding residents to be safe and consider others.

During October to November 2019, SFRS attended one firework related call and eight false alarms regarding bonfires being misconstrued as house fires. The service fears a much busier and more dangerous period this year.

In addition to this, last year Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards investigations found serious fire risks posed by businesses including, unsealed and unboxed firework transit boxes and fireworks stored near combustible items.

The following advice has been produced by the two services with Surrey Police and the RSPCA:

  1. Purchase fireworks from a reputable supplier that bear the CE mark.
  2. Don’t use fireworks in your garden that are produced for display or professional commercial purposes.
  3. Keep fireworks in a closed metal box when they are not being used.
  4. Keep a safe distance from fireworks and light them at arm’s length with a taper.
  5. Use a torch to read and follow instructions, not a naked flame.
  6. Never go back to them once they have been lit, they could still go off.
  7. Sparklers burn at 2,000oC – don’t give them to an under five, always wear gloves and put them out in a bucket of water.
  8. Check piles of leaves and bonfires for small animals who may have set up home inside.
  9. Make sure pets have somewhere to hide so they feel safe. Walk dogs during daylight hours.
  10. Move horses and livestock into stables and barns if possible, provide small animals with lots of extra straw to hide in and cover their shelter with a blanket to muffle the noise.

Denise Turner Stewart, Cabinet Member for Communities at Surrey County Council, explained the importance of following their advice: “The impact of COVID-19 has affected many events this year and we understand that this must be disappointing but we really need residents to do everything they can to stay safe and keep others safe this Hallowe’en and bonfire night.

“Organised displays are usually held by professionals in large spaces to provide a safer environment for people to enjoy the fireworks. Private displays in smaller spaces using shop bought fireworks can get out of control very quickly and result in injuries – sometimes life changing. This danger is increased when the correct advice isn’t followed.

“Above all else, please speak to your neighbours, they may have pets or people who are not comfortable with the loud noises that fireworks produce.” A fun, printable colour-in poster has been created to ensure little ones can have a spooky yet safe Hallowe’en: http://bit.ly/CostumePoster.

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