Coronavirus: Don’t let off fireworks in your garden after display cancellations, public urged
Members of the public are being asked to “think twice” about holding firework displays in their gardens this year, after new lockdown restrictions forced the cancellation of professional events.
England has been placed into a second national coronavirus lockdown, in an attempt to slow the rapid growth in infections, meaning there are worries for people’s safety and the wellbeing of pets as more people opt to mark Bonfire Night at their homes.
London Fire Brigade urged members of the public to reconsider plans to let off fireworks or light bonfires in their gardens, while services in Greater Manchester are advising families to forgo them altogether.
“Think about your neighbours, particularly older people or those who are self-isolating, pets and of course those of us in the emergency services,” Paul Jennings, the assistant commissioner for fire safety at the London Fire Brigade, says.
“Despite our warning if you do choose to have your own display, never drink alcohol and set off fireworks, keep fireworks in a closed metal box and only ever buy ones which carry the CE mark.
“Bonfires should be clear of buildings, sheds, fences and hedges. Bonfires in your back garden can especially be dangerous.
“This time of year is usually one of the busiest for firefighters and control officers and we also need to support our NHS colleagues, so please help us, by keeping yourself safe.”
And Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer, Dave Russel, said: “Our advice would be to not have fireworks and bonfires this year – instead, stay at home, stay safe and protect our emergency services.”
The prospect of more displays in homes has also prompted concerns for the welfare of pets, with the RSPCA calling for people “to be considerate” of those with nervous animals such as dogs and horses.
At least 21% of adults intend to hold fireworks displays at their homes, according to research by the charity – twice as many as last year.
The charity’s animal welfare expert, Dr Mark Kennedy, says: “We’d urge people to be considerate and keep neighbours with animals, including those with nearby horses and other livestock, informed of plans well in advance so they can make preparations to reduce the stress to their animals.
“Fireworks are extremely stressful and frightening for lots of animals. But they can also cause very serious injury and even death to some.
“It can be particularly dangerous for horses and livestock who can be spooked by the loud bangs and bright flashes of light, putting them at risk of injuring themselves on fencing, farm equipment or fixtures and fittings within their housing.”
Sales of fireworks have also been stopped in supermarket Sainsbury’s, with the company saying the explosives cause distress to pets and wildlife, attracting praise from social media users.
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