Louth County Council 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 who do not hold a valid waste collection permit.

Louth Fire & Rescue Servicesincur substantial costs at Halloween in responding to bonfire related incidents, as well as cleaning up after bonfires that take 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. 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, are possibly defective and Gardaí will confiscate any fireworks found in the possession of people who in turn may 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.

Louth County Council Fire & Rescue Service urges members of the public to only attend fireworks displays that are authorised under licence and operated by professionals.

According to Robert Page, Louth Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer: “Illegal fireworks may be manufactured without any safety standards and can cause serious damage to users, particularly children. Throughout the country, every year children end up tragically injured and often scarred for life after using illegal fireworks. This can include extensive damage to eyes and hands, including burn related injuries and even in more serious cases, the amputation of fingers.”

He added: “It is important that parents explain the dangers of illegal bonfires and fireworks to their children – to teenagers as well as to youngsters.”

The Fire Service offers the following tips for a safe Halloween 2020:

  • Report hoarded pallets, tyres and old furniture to Louth County Council 1890 202 303.
  • Do not leave material lying around that may be taken for use in a bonfire. 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 materials for bonfires.
  • Be aware of the dangers of at bonfires.
  • Keep pets indoors on Halloween night.
  • Look for the CE mark and flame resistant labels on Halloween costumes and toys to ensure they meet EU safety standards. This may not prevent it from catching fire but will help to resist burning.
  • Ensure all novelty lights carry the CE safety mark also. The mark should be visible on the product of packaging. If you cannot see it DON’T buy it.
  • If the worst happens and you do come into contact with fire remember: STOP DROP and ROLL and allow the ground to suffocate the fire.
  • 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.
  • Respect the work of the Emergency Services, Local Authorities’ Staff and the Gardaí.