Government launches Impact of Fireworks campaign

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The Scottish Government has launched a new campaign to ensure people are aware of new regulations relating to the use of fireworks.

New laws mean it is now illegal to set off fireworks before 6pm and after 11pm. The law allows for an extension until midnight on November 5 and 1am on Hogmanay, Chinese New Year and Diwali.

The new rules aim to lessen the negative impact of fireworks on people and animals.

Fiona Clarke, an autistic person living in Scotland, supports the campaign.

She said: ‘Visually, fireworks can be a sensory delight and portray celebration but for some of us, the noise, flashes of light, together with the unpredictable nature of how long they will go on for, can be overwhelming.

‘It’s not just sensory issues that can cause autistic people difficulty with fireworks, as some may simply not understand what Bonfire Night is or what to expect.

‘This campaign is important in raising awareness of the negative impact fireworks can have on others and encouraging people to be more mindful of that.’

If you plan on having your own firework display this year it is important you know the rules and how to keep you and your family safe.

Statistics show that during the bonfire season, 85 per cent of all firework injuries treated at emergency departments happen at informal displays. More than half of those requiring treatment are children.

So make sure you keep a safe distance – not all fireworks are suitable for private use.  It depends on size of your garden/area.

Follow the fireworks code – stand well back, never return to a firework after it’s been lit and read instructions before use.

Deputy assistant chief officer Alasdair Perry is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s head of prevention and protection.

He said: ‘We welcome the continuing support of our communities and by following all the available safety guidance from ourselves and our partners, they can help reduce the risk of harm.

‘Every year people are injured by bonfires and fireworks and admitted to hospital – and children are particularly affected.

‘Anyone thinking of hosting a private event involving fire, flame or fireworks is asked to consider the risks.

‘Those who choose to do so should familiarise themselves with the fireworks code and fire safety guidance.

‘We strongly advise them not to take risks because the consequences can be devastating.’

If you are planning a private fireworks display, let your neighbours know when you might be setting fireworks off.

For some of your neighbours, fireworks can be particularly distressing and frightening. Many neighbourhood pets will also be distressed from the loud and sudden noise.

Scottish SPCA head of education, policy and research Gilly Mendes Ferreira said: ‘Every year, thousands of animals suffer stress and anxiety caused by the use of fireworks.

‘As animals have more acute hearing than humans, the loud and high pitched noises made by fireworks can cause animals to become fearful and distressed. Animals can panic and flee at the sound of the bang and this can lead them towards danger such as being the cause of a road traffic accident, also putting human lives at risk.

‘Our advice for those with animals can be found at www.scottishspca.org/news/fireworks-advice. This includes not walking your dog at night when fireworks are being set off, bringing all pets indoors and stabling horses.

‘Make sure doors, windows and cat flaps are kept closed so your pet doesn’t become distressed and try to escape. If you’re setting a bonfire, always check for cats or wildlife before setting it alight.’

If there is a local firework display taking place, think about going to it instead of holding your own private one.

Visit www.firescotland.gov.uk for more information.