Louth Local Authorities Issue Halloween Advice
Louth County Council Fire & Rescue has issued an appeal in the run up to Halloween urging members of the public not to supply any waste material to persons whodo not hold a valid waste collection permit.
Louth Fire & Rescue Services incurred substantial costs last Halloween in responding to bonfire related incidents as well as cleaning up after bonfires that had taken place.
The uncontrolled burning of waste, particularly in bonfires, is illegal under the Air Pollution Act, 1987, and The Waste Management Acts, 1996-2011. The burning of waste also releases toxic pollutants into the air which are known to be damaging to public health and the environment.
“Bonfires are an illegal, dangerous and costly tradition,” explained Eamon Woulfe, Louth Chief Fire Officer.
He added: “Bonfires are often built close to houses and other property presenting risks to personal safety and property. Halloween is one the busiest times of the year for the fire services and responding to bonfire call outs puts a strain on existing resources. I would like people to be aware of the fire safety hazards that arise from illegal bonfires, where the burning of highly combustible materials may lead to serious injuries or death.”
The Fire Service is advising members of public not to buy, use or supply fireworks. A firework includes all those devices which burn and explode to give a loud noise and a visual effect – basically a typical, traditional firework. Bangers are also defined as fireworks.
It is illegal to possess any fireworks that may have been legally purchased outside Ireland and brought back into this country. Many of the fireworks that are offered for sale illegally here have not passed any quality control tests and are possibly defective. Gardaí will confiscate any fireworks found in the possession of people who in turn will be liable to prosecution. In addition there is a specific offence under law for throwing any lit firework at a person or property. A person can be fined up to €10,000 for possession of unlicensed fireworks and for igniting, throwing, or possession of unlicensed fireworks with intent to sell or supply, the penalties can be up to €10,000 and five years in jail. The only exception to these laws is where a professional fireworks display is authorised under licence.
According to Sheila Broderick, Louth Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer: “Illegal fireworks may be manufactured without safety standards and can cause serious damage to users, particularly children. Parents should monitor their children and ensure they do not play with fireworks. Throughout the country, every year children end up tragically injured and often scarred for life, after using illegal fireworks.”
Most fireworks related injuries are hand injuries and they tend to be caused by children lighting bangers/fireworks and then holding them for too long. Fireworks have been known to cause extensive damage to children's eyes and hands, including fingers being amputated and burn related injuries.
Fire Service tips for a safe Halloween 2012:
- If you see material such as wooden pallets, tyres, old furniture or other combustible materials or waste being hoarded in advance of Halloween the waste enforcement section of Louth County Council can be contacted at 042-9324101 or at the lo-call Litter Line 1800202606.
- Do not leave material lying around that may be taken for use in a bonfire; many garage or garden shed items such as petrol, white spirits, diesel, aerosols, batteries, tins of paint, bottles and tyres are especially dangerous if set on fire.
- Parents, businesses and householders should not provide any materials for bonfires.
- Do not facilitate illegal bonfires or firework displays on or near your home or property.
- Explain the dangers of illegal bonfires and fireworks to children and teenagers.
- Keep pets indoors on Halloween night – they are sensitive to noise.
- Respect the work of the Emergency Services, Local Authorities’ Staff and the Gardaí.
- Contact the Fire and Rescue Service by calling 999 or 112 if you see a bonfire being lit close to buildings, trees, overhead cables, underground services or car parking areas.
Under the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations, 2007-2008, all persons engaged in waste collection must hold a valid waste collection permit. Any person wishing to confirm the legitimacy of a waste collector should ask the collector for their waste collection permit number and proceed to check it online at www.nwcpo.ie (National Waste Collection Permit Office). Be aware that it is a criminal offence to give your waste to any individual who does not hold a current and valid waste collection permit.