Fire Service urge public to ‘act responsibly and stay safe’ at bonfires

Fire crew at Sandy Row Bonfire after it was set alight early
Fire crew at Sandy Row Bonfire after it was set alight early
  • In 2014 there were 44 bonfire incidents from 6pm on July 11 - 8am on July 12
  • 2013: 54 incidents
  • 2012: 29 incidents

With 44 incidents reported at Eleventh Night bonfires last year, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service [NIFRS] is urging those who are building or attending this year’s fires to “act responsibly and stay safe”.

The distance from the bonfire to the nearest property should be no closer than five times the height of the bonfire in case of collapse.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Walmsley

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Walmsley

NIFRS also advise that stacks should be built so they don’t collapse, huts or dens should never be built inside the bonfire and foam filled furniture, tyres, aerosols, tins of paint or bottles.

Responsible adults should look after lighting the bonfire and should check that no children or pets are hiding inside it.

For an emergency NIFRS advise keeping buckets of water, a garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready and call Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service on 999 at the first sign of danger.

Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said: “Operationally the 11th night last year (2014) was quieter for us than the same night in 2013 with Fire Crews attending 10 less bonfire-related incidents.

“Bonfires can easily get out of control if they are not built safely and properly supervised and in recent weeks and months we have been working hard with local communities and other statutory agencies to provide our bonfire safety advice.

“Bonfires should be kept to a manageable size and sited in a clear, open space, at a safe distance from buildings and overhead cables. As a rule of thumb the bonfire should be a minimum distance of five times its height from property. It should not contain any potentially hazardous materials or tyres and never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin, as these can produce explosive vapours.”