Fire Scotland have issued a timely reminder about firework safety, with local and community displays set to begin on Saturday (November 2nd).

The senior fire officer for the Western Isles, Group Commander Gavin Hammond, said people would be wise to attend a safely organised bonfire and firework display, rather than lighting fireworks in their own garden or croft.

He told welovestornoway.com: “If you must have a bonfire at home make sure it is well away from buildings, vehicles, trees, hedges, fences, power lines, telecommunications equipment and sheds and ensure that smoke does not cause a nuisance to neighbours or flying embers endanger neighbouring property.”

Community safety advocate Mairi MacDonald said there were simple rules to follow to try and ensure a safer event for everyone. She said: “There’s a list of essential points people should keep in mind if they are holding their own firework party.

“Never drink alcohol if you are tending a bonfire or setting off fireworks. Bonfires should be built from untreated wood and paper-based materials only to reduce emissions of fumes or noxious smoke, and you should keep pressurised containers or sealed vessels well away from bonfires to prevent combustion.

“Never throw fireworks on bonfires and never use flammable liquids to light bonfires –proprietary fire lighters should light the bonfire safely and effectively.

“And don’t forget that smoke from bonfires, sparks, flying embers or burning debris must not endanger nearby property or cause a nuisance to other householders or road users. Finally, never leave a burning/smouldering bonfire unsupervised – make sure it is completely
extinguished.”

Figures show that children are more likely than adults to be injured by fireworks, even though watching a display can be great fun for kids. Group Commander Hammond said:

“Over the past five years over 350 pre-school children, some as young as one year old, were treated in hospital for firework injuries. Be safe and always follow the fireworks code. It is important that people understand current legislation regarding fireworks and their use too.”

There’s a clear code for using fireworks within the law. It is an offence to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am (or after midnight on bonfire night); to modify, tamper with or misuse fireworks; to throw or set off fireworks in any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place or for anyone under 18 to possess fireworks in a public place.

Causing unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animals with the use of fireworks is also an offence. For further safety advice visit SFRS website https://www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/fireworks-safety. or www.saferfireworks.com