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Bonfire Night

"Everybody wants good weather tonight - I'm praying for rain"

Tonight will be one of Dublin Fire Brigade’s busiest nights of the year.

shutterstock_477473686 Shutterstock / Dmitrii Erekhinskii Shutterstock / Dmitrii Erekhinskii / Dmitrii Erekhinskii

TONIGHT IS HALLOWEEN night, and all across the country bonfires will burn and fireworks will be launched.

And for our fire services, it’s the biggest night of the year – a great big headache that all involved will be happiest when it’s over.

“Everybody hopes for good weather tonight – I’m praying for rain,” says Chief Fire Officer with Dublin Fire Brigade Pat Fleming.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Fleming outlined the dangers of bonfires and fireworks that become most apparent in a worst-case scenario.

“The two big issues from a fire safety point of view are bonfires and fireworks, both of which are illegal,” Fleming said.

Some of your audience, or someone they know, may end up in an emergency department tonight or tomorrow morning. That’s something that we want to try and avoid.

The most dangerous things about bonfires according to Fleming are “toxic fumes” and the fact “that you don’t know what’s actually in a bonfire”.

“There may be aerosol cans, there may be gas cylinders which can explode,” he said.

We’d advise people not to attend, but if they do be aware of the dangers and stand well back.
Both adults and children dress in loose and flowing clothes at this time of year – if they’re exposed to flames they can go on fire very easily. If you do see someone on fire: stop, drop, and roll is the best way to put it out. But you will suffer serious injury.

Fleming says that while the fire brigade is against any bonfire, it does carry out a risk assessment of every one it’s called to.

If we decide it’s a serious risk to the environment we will put it out, yes, some others we will leave be.

The Chief Fire Officer also warned of the dangers of fireworks, the illegality of which he was keen to stress.

“There’s never any problem with fireworks when we see them on TV, but those are provided by professionals under very, very strict regulations,” he said.

Many fireworks themselves are poorly manufactured. They can self-detonate early and cause serious body injuries, facial injuries, hand injuries.

We would say to people: “just don’t use fireworks at all, and if you’re a parent and you’re aware that there are fireworks, make sure that your children or anyone you know doesn’t go near them.”

Read: Poll: Do you approve of fireworks?

Read: Upside-down world of Macnas to take over Dublin this evening

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