Be Safe this Halloween and Bonfire Night

NHS England and emergency services are urging people across the region to celebrate Halloween and Bonfire Night safely.

Last year, North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) took 11 per cent more 999 calls than predicted on Halloween, taking nearly 200 more calls than the previous Tuesday.

NHS Digital statistics showed that 545 attendances to A&Es across England between 29 October 2016 and 12 November 2016 were caused by fireworks.

Val Bowman, Head of Emergency Preparedness, Resilience & Response, NHS England Cumbria and North East, said: “We want people to enjoy themselves and stay safe, wrap up well and get home safely when they are out celebrating.

“Unfortunately health services can face increased demand due to injuries related to celebrations around this time of year, and also as the weather gets colder so please do have fun but be safe.”

If you have a minor injury or illness, please go to NHS.UK for advice or see your local pharmacist who can give expert advice. If you have further concerns, your GP now offers appointments in the evening and at weekends. If you need urgent medical help, contact the NHS 111 service – fully trained advisors are available 24-hours a day and can put you straight through to healthcare professionals.

The region’s Fire and Rescue Services and North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) are asking people to plan ahead and take care over the Halloween and Bonfire period.

Gerardine Hope, service manager for call handling at NEAS, said: “Halloween and the run up to it can be an incredibly busy time for our frontline staff, both out on the road and within our Emergency Operations Centre, as people make the most of the Halloween festivities. This is especially true when the weekend coincides with the end of British Summertime as party-goers make the most of the extra hour.

“You can help us to reserve our services for those most in need by being sensible in your celebrations. Please look after yourselves and each other so that you don’t require our services at the end of your evening.”

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is encouraging residents to plan ahead and enjoy the celebrations safely and responsibly.

Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer for NFRS, said: “Halloween costumes are often made of flammable materials which could cause life changing injuries if they are caught with a naked flame. Parents must be cautious when buying fancy dress costumes and remember that cheaper products are more likely to fail safety standards and could burn quickly if they catch fire.

“Fireworks and bonfires are a lot of fun but it’s so important for residents to be cautious and to enjoy the celebrations responsibly. Acting irresponsibly around fires and fireworks can have devastating effects, can cause life threatening injuries and can even cost lives.”

Last year, NFRS fire control room took 96 calls on Bonfire Night, with crews attending 19 bonfires considered to be dangerous.

For a list of organised public displays in Northumberland and safety advice, visit:  

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) is encouraging residents to enjoy the celebrations safely and responsibly by planning ahead

Stuart Errington, Chief Fire Officer for CDDFRS, said “We would urge people not to use naked flames while their children are dressing up for Halloween or bonfire night as the costumes are often made from flammable materials, instead we would encourage using LED lights as a safe alternative around your home and in pumpkins.

“Fireworks and bonfires are a lot of fun but can also be very dangerous if not enjoyed responsibly, we would always strongly encourage our residents to attend an organised display. A list of organised displays is available on our website.”

Last year, CDDFRS fire control room took 150 calls on Bonfire Night, with crews attending over 60% of the incident calls received 

For more safety advice and a list of organised public displays in County Durham and Darlington visit:

NFRS have shared 10 safety tips for enjoying fireworks and bonfires safely:

  1. Avoid wearing loose clothing or closing that is labelled ‘highly flammable’
  2. Always wear gloves when handling sparklers and fireworks
  3. Always have buckets of water ready to put out small fires or to cool sparklers
  4. Make sure children are supervised around fireworks and bonfires
  5. Never drink alcohol if you’re setting off fireworks
  6. Keep animals indoors and close curtains
  7. Only purchase fireworks that are sold by a registered seller
  8. Follow instructions carefully and light fireworks at arm’s length
  9. Ensure spectators stand back from bonfires and fireworks
  10. Never go back to a firework that has been lit – even if it hasn’t gone off