Shock firework injuries video aims to hammer home Bonfire Night safety message

Fire chiefs are using a video featuring horrifically-scarred victims to highlight this year’s Bonfire Night safety campaign.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has called this year’s campaign Scarred for Life, as it encourages everyone to stay safe and enjoy bonfires and fireworks responsibly.

Part of the Scarred for Life bonfire safety campaign.

Part of the Scarred for Life bonfire safety campaign.

The campaign provides safety advice and information in a wide range of formats, helping people to have fun but remain safe over the next few weeks.

Chris Lowther, Assistant Chief Fire Officer of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Bonfires and fireworks can be fun and exciting – but they can also cause devastating injuries.

“To make sure your bonfire experience is filled with fun, rather than fraught with danger, our advice is to attend an organised display.

“At this time of year we also see an increase in opportunist fires, which risks the lives of local people and our firefighters.

“You can try to avoid the risks by bringing in your wheelie bin as soon as it has been emptied, and ensuring waste is stored securely before being disposed of.

“It’s also hugely helpful to contact your local council if you notice any discarded items which could be set on fire, or an illegal bonfire being built.”

The Scarred for Life campaign includes:

* Visits to schools across the area to warn young people of the dangers and to talk about the consequences of anti-social behaviour.

* An online campaign providing a range of information through social media and the brigade website, to help local people enjoy bonfires safely. This includes details of organised displays, advice on fire safety, information on the laws surrounding bonfires and fireworks, and educational materials which can be downloaded.

* A short film, Scarred for Life, which is being shown in schools. It is a compilation of true stories featuring children and young people who have been badly injured.

* SafetyWorks! interactive safety centre is working with schools across Tyne and Wear, hosting safety information sessions for more than 250 young people.

* Burns Awareness Day, Wednesday 19 October, will provide an opportunity for people to learn more about the devastating effect of burns.

An information stand will be in place throughout the day at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, outside the Medicentre on the 2nd floor, with volunteers and staff available for people to talk to.

* Local businesses selling fireworks are also urged to ensure they have a current explosives licence, sufficient fire safety provisions and an appropriate place to store fireworks safely.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service will be visiting stores, in conjunction with Trading Standards, to ensure these measures are in place and that any fireworks being sold meet British safety standards.

* The service will also be working closely with local authorities and Northumbria Police to tackle the consequences of anti-social behaviour around the misuse of fireworks and bonfires.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “We want everyone taking part in bonfire celebrations to enjoy themselves, but it’s important that people do so safely and take responsibility for themselves and others.

“People must be mindful that these occasions can cause distress and fear among the most vulnerable in our communities and can involve anti-social behaviour.

“That’s why I welcome this partnership work in the run-up to such events, to try to combat any incidents and ensure local residents feel safe.”

Anyone who has concerns about disorder or antisocial behaviour should contact their local neighbourhood policing team on 101, ext 69191.