Limerick Fire Services have warned parents and members of the public to remain vigilant in the lead up to Halloween, particularly on Halloween night and the night before.
Niall McMahon, Assistant Chief Fire Officer with Limerick City and County Council says it is essential that adults are there to supervise all activities and events that are on during Halloween week be that from bonfires, trick-or-treating, or fireworks.
“I think it’s essential that parents don’t take for granted that their kids are out with another child and their parent. They should always chaperone their own children,” Niall says.
“You’re going to see bonfires and you’re going to see fireworks. The issues with fireworks are the improper use of them. Aiming them towards a house, aiming them towards trees, aiming towards rubbish and general waste or anything lying around that could cause an issue.”
McMahon also warned that the public need to watch out for any possible risks relating to bonfires including stock piling of too much material, the use of bigger items such as sofas as well as accelerants like gas cylinders, aerosols or petrol used in creating bonfires.
“The larger the bonfire, the more risk it could cause, which, if it’s in an urban environment you’re going to have overhead power lines, you’re going to have proximity to houses and it could become a very dangerous situation.”
He emphasised that you can get bad injuries from either, with bonfires being carried by the wind into properties and people letting fireworks off in their hands or too close to children.
Stating that there will always be quite a few calls on Halloween night, fire services are generally called to an area if a member of the public calls with concerns that a situation is getting out of hand, and once fire services arrive they will then make an adjudication of the situation.”
“We’ll ask ourselves is it safe to put out or is it safer to leave it keep going and burn itself out,” Niall added.
“When you’ve a large crowd someone might want to let it burn again and if you start putting it out they’ll just start lighting it somewhere else.”
On the topic of anti-social behaviour, he says that the crews always have the chance of running into those types of situations but they just have to deal with it.
“What the public can facilitate us with on the night is by calling 999 to get through to the call centre. The most important job a member of the public can do is to be clear on their information, what the issue is and where it is happening.”
Niall added that the second most important job a member of the public can do is removing themselves entirely from the area or the situation once they have done this.
“We are a trained response unit so we are the best people to tackle any issues. What we’d look for is for people to take a step back and let us work with it.”
He added that non-trained members of the public don’t know their limitations and might not be able to spot key points in terms of accelerants or location: “If they’re standing near a fire trying to tackle it something much more dangerous could happen right beside them and that could put their lives at risk”
For further details on fire safety you can contact Limerick City and County Fire and Emergency services on 061 556859 or by emailing email@example.com