Council, Garda and community groups issue a joint appeal on Halloween bonfires

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

bonfires halloween

County hall and Gardaí in Laois have urged people not to contribute anything for Halloween bonfires in Laois this year out of respect for others and also the emergency services who are busy at the frontline of Covid-19.

Laois County Council issued the appeal ahead of what is traditionally bonfire night on October 31. 

"Laois County Council with support from An Garda Síochaná, local business and community groups, calls on people in their local communities not to contribute to any bonfires at Halloween and to respect both the environment and the health of their families and neighbours.

"Emergency services are already battling Covid, don't add to the problem," said the council.

The County Laois Fire and Rescue Services says that bonfires and fireworks are illegal and should be avoided where possible.

However, the Station Officers appealed to the communities they serve to watch over their loved ones around fireworks and bonfires this Halloween.

The officers said thousands of people throughout the Country over the years have seen the pain and suffering of friends and family members as a consequence of fireworks and bonfire displays that have gone horribly wrong.

 However, if bonfires are held the Station Officers have issued the following advice.

  • Where bonfires do occur they should be well clear of all residential areas and away from ESB cables and pylons.
  • Ideally, the bonfire should be sited in a clear open space. It should be at a safe distance (preferably no less than 50 metres) from buildings, trees, wooden fences, overhead cables or car parking areas.
  • The layout of the area should also take the direction of the wind into account so that the bonfire does not blow towards
  • The spectators and sparks are not carried towards any combustible materials/
  • A bonfire should be supervised by adults and a perimeter ring should be established around the bonfire within which no person should be permitted.
  • Never use petrol/paraffin etc to light a bonfire.
  • Do not allow fireworks to be thrown on bonfires – this is highly dangerous.
  • The site should have a suitable entrance(s) for emergency service vehicles and kept clear of obstruction until the event is over.
  • The bonfire should be kept to a manageable size and the maximum height should not normally exceed 3m. It should be evenly built so that it collapses inwards as it burns. Spectators should be kept a minimum distance of twice the height of the bonfire to minimise the chances of injury in the event of the bonfire collapsing.
  • The bonfire should not contain any potentially hazardous materials which may explode or give off toxic fumes, such as aerosols; batteries; bottles; foam-filled furniture, gas cylinders, tins of paint etc.
  • Tyres should not be used as they produce large amounts of black smoke and can roll off the bonfire when alight,
  • Light-weight materials that may be blown away while on fire should not be used.
  • At the end of the event, the bonfire should be extinguished with water and it should not be left until the person in charge is certain that it is out.

If your bonfire gets out of hand, dial 999 / 112 and inform the fire brigade/emergency services.

The fire servce also encouraged everyone to adhere to National COVID 19 guidelines in relation to “trick or treat” visits, parties and events and to follow the recommendations below to ensure that this time of celebration remains a safe time for all.

It advised that if people are dressing up in dark clothes, reflective material should be added to improve visibility to all road users. The services advise that only use fire-retardant materials for costumes and ensure children are accompanied by a parent or guardian.