Police patrols to be stepped up in Derry as fireworks, sparklers and Halloween costume safety advice issued

Police and Derrry and Strabane have said they will be conducting patrols throughout the Hallowe’en celebrations while the fire and rescue service has urged everyone to make safety a priority.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 11:01 am
The fireworks display over the River Foyle in Derry which is one of the highlights of the Halloween festival in the city. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 31.10.18

PSNI T/Chief Superintendent Sue Steen said that while Halloween should be a safe and enjoyable time for everyone, it is not uncommon to see an increase in calls to police and other emergency services.

“Most people are responsible, but we need to be considerate and mindful of others when it comes to marking Hallowe’en. Remember, what might seem like harmless fun to some, may actually feel like anti-social behaviour to others. We don’t want members of our community becoming victims of anti-social behaviour.

“Please don’t be alarmed if you see more police in the community this Hallowe’en - we will be there to ensure everyone is enjoying their Halloween safely. If you have any concerns about antisocial behaviour in your community, you can contact us on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Meanwhile, the NI Fire & Rescue Service has also issued an appeal to everyone to celebrate safely this Halloween.

Last Hallowe’en, NIFRS attended 100 incidents – a 15% increase on the previous Halloween. 59% of the emergency calls received by NIFRS were made after 6pm.

Suzanne Fleming, Group Commander, NIFRS said: “Hallowe’en can be one of the busiest times of year for your Fire & Rescue Service. We are calling on the community to act responsibly and be fire aware. It is concerning that we saw an increase in incidents last Halloween and that the majority of fires we attended were set deliberately. Please don’t put extra pressure on us by starting fires deliberately, and if you’re using extra fire hazards at this time of year - such as candles, sparklers and fireworks - please follow our safety advice.

“If you’re deciding to use fireworks then please keep in mind that they are a fire hazard and can set fire to buildings and clothing. The explosive force of a firework can also cause serious injury, particularly to your hands and face. Only light them outside, in an open space, and keep children well away from them.

“Fancy dress costumes can be highly flammable, and so it’s important to make sure children are properly supervised at all times; and are kept away from fireworks or open flames.

“Without proper supervision sparklers can cause serious injury. Never give them to children under the age of 5, and wear gloves when using them, preferably leather gloves. By being aware of the increased fire hazards introduced at this time of year, and knowing how to use them safely, we can all be Safer Together this Halloween.”

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Fireworks are extremely dangerous.

“They can cause devastating injuries and pose a threat, particularly to children and young people. Fireworks can also be dangerous and distressing for pets and farm animals. I would appeal to everyone to apply caution. Stay safe and act sensibly this Hallowe’en.”

NIFRS Halloween Safety Advice

Fireworks: It is compulsory for anyone wishing to buy or use fireworks to obtain a license. More info can be found here- www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/fireworks; Only buy fireworks marked with a CE mark – this shows fireworks meet European Safety Standards; Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks; Keep fireworks in a closed box when not in use and keep away from ignition sources; Follow the manufacturer’s advice on each firework and use them one at a time.; Light them at arm’s length using a taper. Stand well back; Never go near a firework that has been lit, even if it hasn’t gone off as it could still explode; Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them; Always supervise children around fireworks; Keep pets and animals indoors – the flames and noise upset them; Don’t set off noisy fireworks late at night and never after 11pm.

Sparklers: Sparklers are often viewed as being harmless but they do burn at fierce temperatures; Store sparklers in a closed box in a cool, dry place; Always light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves, keeping them at arm’s length.

Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hand; Plunge finished sparklers hot end down into a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out. Sparklers stay hot for a long time; Don’t take sparklers to public displays. It will be too crowded to use them safely; Never give sparklers to under 5s – they will not understand how to use them safely; Always supervise children using sparklers, teach them how to use them properly and give them leather gloves to wear.

Children’s Fancy Dress Costumes: If your child is wearing a fancy dress costume this Halloween – Keep children away from naked flames – avoid using a naked flame or candle in pumpkins; use a torch, glow stick or battery operated candle; Stop, Drop and Roll if clothing does catch on fire – to try to extinguish the flames and also to stop the flames from rising towards the face; Choose a costume and mask that doesn’t restrict a child’s visibility or vision; Wear woolen tights or ‘heavy’ trousers (jeans) and a woolen jumper under the costume; Ensure children are well supervised at all times; Look out for Costumes that are labelled ‘Low Flammability’ ‘BS5722’ or have the European code ‘BS EN 14878’ which meets the higher standard of The Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985.