Bonfire Safety Advice Ahead Of Fire Strike

1 November 2013, 10:02 | Updated: 1 November 2013, 10:28

The Fire Service are warning us to be extra careful this evening ahead of another fire strike.

From6.30 pm to 11 pm, and on Monday 4 November from 6 am to 8 am, Suffolk’s firefighters will be operating a reduced service, but say they will be ready to protect the county during these periods of strike action.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is encouraging members of the public to take extra safety precautions ahead of two further periods of strike action announced by the FBU.

With fireworks and bonfire events planned across the county and people likely to be using candles to celebrate Diwali 'festival of lights', Suffolk’s firefighters are intent on spreading vital fire safety messages and encouraging people not to take any unnecessary risks.

Senior officers within the county’s fire service expect to have approximately 20 of Suffolk’s 35 fire stations available over the two strike periods. 999 calls will be responded to with the nearest available fire engine sent to emergencies, crewed by firefighters who are not taking part in strike action.

SFRS is strongly advising people to attend official, organised celebrations, but is issuing the following advice for those who are having celebrations of their own:

  • Before you light the bonfire, check that children and animals are a safe distance away
  • Never leave bonfires unattended
  • Never light bonfires in unsuitable weather conditions, particularly wind
  • Never use flammable liquids to start the fire, and never burn dangerous rubbish such as aerosols
  • Have only one person in charge of lighting the fireworks, and use eye protection and gloves
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions on each firework. Read them by torchlight – never a naked flame
  • Light fireworks at arm's length using a safety firework lighter or fuse wick
  • Never go back to a firework once lit
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby
  • Put used sparklers hot end down into a bucket of sand or water
  • Never throw used fireworks on a bonfire

Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection, said; "As ever we are prepared and have processes in place to help the service deal with further strikes from the Fire Brigades Union. We will be operating a reduced service over the two strikes, but our focus will remain on protecting the people of Suffolk and those who visit our county. Normal service will be resumed as soon as the strike is finished.

“Given the reduced availability of firefighters and fire appliances during these periods of action and the potential for increased risk created by bonfire and firework events and people using candles, the public are strongly encouraged to be extra vigilant and safety conscious. We highly recommend that families attend organised and safely managed public events and that safety advice regarding bonfire and firework safety is reviewed and followed very closely."

In addition to specific bonfire safety advice and candle safety, simple common sense precautions such as testing smoke alarms, keeping an eye on food cooking and looking out for vulnerable neighbours and friends will reduce the risk of fires. When driving, SFRS is encouraging people to take extra care, wear a seat belt, never to use  a mobile phone while driving and not to drive when tired or after drinking.

No further strikes have been announced at this stage by the FBU.