Emergency services joining forces during this years Bonfire Night period

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Emergency services across Greater Manchester are urging communities to help prevent attacks on emergency workers and anti-social behaviour during this year's Bonfire Night period.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) figures from 1 September to 10 November last year (2021) show:

  • 27 firefighters were attacked
  • police and firefighters received 940 hoax calls
  • 1,318 fires were started deliberately

GMFRS is once again joining forces with Greater Manchester Police (GMP), North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and wider partners, to ask for the public's help in preventing incidents this autumn.

They are warning that assaults, anti-social behaviour and arson are all "bang out of order" and could see offenders jailed or fined.

The "bang out of order" campaign aims to highlight the consequences of anti-social behaviour; encourage parents to have conversations with their children about their behaviour during the Bonfire Night period; and inform residents about the ways to report anti-social behaviour incidents.

The campaign will be seen on social media, online, and outdoor digital ad displays in targeted areas of Greater Manchester.

In addition, GMFRS will be visiting schools to share safety advice on bonfires, fireworks and anti-social behaviour to ensure young people enjoy the autumn safely.

Cllr Vimal Choksi, Tameside Council Executive Member for Towns and Communities, said: "Halloween and Bonfire Night are fantastic community celebrations and a great time for families to get together, but this can be marred by illegal activity during this period. 

"The attacks on firefighters and other offences are completely unacceptable and we'll be working closely with Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service as part of the Community Safety Partnership to ensure all communities remain safe.

"Please contact the emergency services if there is anything you need to report. I also ask that people be considerate to their neighbours with the timing of their fireworks, especially if they have small children or pets that could be frightened by the noise."

GMFRS's Director of Prevention and Protection, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Leon Parkes, said: "I am urging members of the public to support the emergency services during this Halloween and Bonfire Night period.

"Please speak to your children and young people about the consequences of anti-social behaviour and attacks on emergency service workers who are just out there doing their jobs.

"No one should be attacked for trying to keep you, your families, and your communities safe.

"Setting light to fires, throwing fireworks and making hoax calls can cost lives and keep our firefighters away from dealing with life-threatening incidents.

"These actions are bang out of order and will not be tolerated."

GMP Superintendent, Roger Pegram, said: "This Halloween and Bonfire Night, we are urging our communities to celebrate safely and behave in a responsible way.

"Throughout this period, we will be working alongside partners to prevent fireworks-related disorder and other forms of anti-social behaviour but nevertheless, we still anticipate a very busy period for ourselves and the other emergency services.

"There will be increased patrols in place across ASB hotspots, and we urge members of the public not to suffer in silence; contact us if you need help.

"We are committed to keeping not only the public, but our officers and emergency service colleagues safe, and we are grateful that our officers will be supported by the specialist resources and partners. 

"Finally, we would like to appeal to parents and guardians to have frank conversations with young people and to be aware of what they are doing and who with, and where possible, to accompany them if they are out trick or treating, to ensure they are acting in a safe and respectful manner."

Emergency services are also warning people about the dangers of Halloween costumes.

As fireworks legally go on sale in the UK from 15 October, our advice is never to have fireworks at home, but if you do, please ensure you follow the Firework Safety Code:

  • Buy fireworks marked CE (meeting required safety standards)
  • Keep fireworks in a closed metal box
  • Follow the instructions on each firework
  • Light them at arm's length using a taper
  • Stand well back
  • Never go back to a lit firework
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby if you are setting off fireworks in your garden
  • Never throw fireworks
  • Keep pets indoors
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix and may lead to injury

GMFRS issues licences to shops that store and sell fireworks and advice has been sent to all retailers about what they need to do to store fireworks safely and reminding them that it is against the law to sell fireworks to under 18s. We also encourage retailers to adopt the Challenge 21 policy.

Fire safety inspectors will be carrying out inspections over the next four weeks to make sure fireworks are stored safely and firefighters will also be visiting shops selling fireworks.

You can find out more about the campaign, including safety advice, on the campaign section of the GMFRS website.

Anyone who witnesses antisocial behaviour involving fireworks should call the police on either 101 or 999 in an emergency.        

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