Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has called on the community to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on their Firefighters during the ongoing COVID- 19 pandemic by keeping themselves safe this Halloween.
Due to COVID – 19 restrictions, Halloween will be celebrated very differently across Northern Ireland this year. It is anticipated that more people will celebrate Halloween at home therefore increasing the risk of fire. At the same time NIFRS will be continuing to manage the impact of COVID – 19 on its ability to respond to incidents.
Paddy Gallagher, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS), explains:
“At the start of the pandemic, through our planning, we put arrangements in place to help ensure we continued to deliver a safe and effective fire and rescue service, whilst doing everything to help protect the safety and well-being of our people and the community we serve.
“We are beginning to feel the impact of COVID-19 on our ability to deliver our service and coping mechanisms are being put in place to ensure that we are able to continue to respond to incidents.
“Halloween is traditionally one of our busiest times of year. We anticipate that more people will celebrate Halloween at home this year, rather than attending large publically planned firework displays that would normally take place. This has the potential to increase the risk of fire in the home. This is why we are calling on our community to help support us and be extra fire aware this Halloween to help reduce the number of incidents we are required to attend whilst we manage the organisational impact of the ongoing COVID–19 pandemic.
“We are strongly encouraging everyone to follow the COVID-19 regulations. We are also asking people to be especially careful when it comes to fireworks, sparklers and fancy dress costumes. You need a licence to buy fireworks and you should only ever use ones with a CE marking. Always light your sparklers one at a time and keep a bucket of water near to hand to put them out in afterwards. Children wearing fancy dress costumes should be kept well away from fire and if they do catch fire remember; stop, drop and roll.
“Last year we responded to the lowest number of incidents on Halloween night in seven years. This was fantastic and we’re really grateful that people followed our simple advice to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
“This has been a difficult time for all of us and we want everyone to have an enjoyable and safe Halloween. Please, support your Firefighters and make sure everybody has a fun time by putting safety first and being aware of additional fire hazards at this time of year.”