herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Children urged to take care at Halloween fires

Large numbers of children and adults have lost fingers and suffered burn injuries in Halloween accidents, Dublin Fire Brigade has warned as the annual celebration approaches.

Dublin City Council kicked off its Be Safe-Stay Safe campaign as part of a drive including a city-wide programme of family-friendly Halloween events.

Although it also includes the confiscation of stockpiled bonfire materials, Lord Mayor Christy Burke said the idea was not to ruin Halloween for everyone, but to make sure it can be enjoyed safely.

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"Nobody is saying stick your head in the sand for Halloween and don't pull it out until it's over. Go out and have a ball, enjoy yourself, but please be careful," he said.

Children at Scoil Chaoimhin in Marlborough Street yesterday gave firefighters a hand to get their message across.

The campaign's organisers will be visiting schools throughout the city over the coming week to warn children about the dangers of illegal bonfires and fireworks.

Dublin Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Patrick Fleming said bonfires can cause a huge amount of environmental damage.

"You can't know what is actually in the bonfire, and if there is petrol or paint cans or aerosol cans they can cause huge injuries to the people that are there," he said.

"These fireworks are explosives and because a lot of them are poorly manufactured they can explode in your hand.

"There is no safety factor with them - that is the big issue with fireworks at Halloween."

The Lord Mayor said special care needs to be taken of animals at Halloween and called on the public to get involved with any of the council's special events around the city on the night.

"Bonfires and fireworks are illegal and dangerous and can have devastating consequences," said Mr Burke.

"It is heartbreaking. We've seen it all down the years - we've seen kids losing hands or fingers from bangers. We've seen kids fall into fires, we've seen adults fall into fires."

After a talk from members of Dublin Fire Brigade, Dublin Bus, An Garda Siochana and the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Scoil Chaoimhin pupils got a go at the fire engine's hose.

hnews@herald.ie

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