Comment: Staying safe a priority at Halloween

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Halloween has the dubious distinction of being one of the busiest nights of the year for the fire and emergency services, and for the gardai.

Halloween has the dubious distinction of being one of the busiest nights of the year for the fire and emergency services, and for the gardai.

It is an unfortunate and unacceptable situation, but each year seems to see a marked increase in the number of dangerous incidents that take place around the so called ‘celebrations’ that are part and parcel of the festival.

Bonfires and the use of fireworks and ‘banger’s are the two main culprits.

Over the past fortnight most housing estates have been resonating to the sound of them in preparation for the night itself.

Much has already been written about the use of such devices.

Gardai emphasise that fireworks are illegal if you do not have a licence for them.

While they are lovely to view they are also very dangerous and have resulted in some horrific injury in incidents of unsupervised release.

It’s also worth reiterating that along with the obvious risks to the users, they are a cause of upset and distress to a lot of people, and animals.

Their use anywhere, but particularly in built up urban areas, is unfair to say the least.

Much work has been done to combat their use and availability and progress has been achieved.

Yet they are still out there and caution is the keyword with them.

Gardai also point out that illlegal and unsupervised bonfires results in increased callouts by the Fire Service each Halloween.

The unfortunately aspect of this is that at some time this may impact on their response to a real emergency.

Gardai have appealed to the public to report to the Council any material such as pallets or tyres being collected or hoarded in advance or on Halloween day, or if there is evidence of a bonfire being built close to buildings, trees, or overhead power lines.

In fairness, many communities and organisations have done much work in organising regulated events in which fireworks are used in a controlled environment and and the right and proper manner.

However, while there are many such events, the ad hoc use of these dangerous devices looks set to continue.

The importance of saf ety and staying safe at Halloween is paramount.

At its best, Halloween is a family orientated festival which everyone can enjo.

In recent years, the emphasis has been increasingly on this.

Halloween’s darker side needs to be offset by this emphasis.