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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 11 November, 2019
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Halloween campaign warns public of 'life-changing injuries' caused by fireworks

Dublin Fire Brigade’s chief fire officer has said it’s important that parents of young children know where they are and make sure they are supervised.

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A CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED today is seeking to highlight the dangers of illegal fireworks, and the penalties people can face if they are caught with them in the run up to Halloween.

Chief Fire Officer of the Dublin Fire Brigade Denis Keeley said due to the number of  supervised events in the community the fire service has seen a decrease in calls to bonfires.

However he said there was an increase last year in ambulance responses connected to the use of fireworks. “Life-changing injuries” firefighters have seen include amputated fingers and injuries to the eyes, he told reporters at Tara Street station in Dublin today.

“Even a sparkler can burn at extreme temperatures, sparklers themselves can burn over 900 degrees Celsius – that’s six or seven times hotter than your hot frying pan,” Keeley said.

“These are not items to be left with children unattended. They can cause horrific injuries.”

Already this year emergency services in Dublin have been called to firework-related injuries. Last month in Cabra, two teenage boys suffered serious injuries when a firework exploded in their hands.

Keeley said it is important that parents and guardians of young children know where they are and make sure they are supervised.

He also said where legal firework displays are underway, run by a licensed operator, the fire service does not see any injuries.

“It is all around the misuse and use of illegal fireworks.”

Chief Superintendent for the DMR North Central, Patrick McMenamin, also took the opportunity to remind people that they could face serious criminal sanctions for possession of illegal fireworks. It is an offence to possess a firework with intent to sell or supply, without a licence; light illegal fireworks; or throw or direct a lit firework at any person or property.

An Garda Síochána has put in place measures to prevent and detect the sale and organised importation of fireworks in the lead-up to Halloween. Operation Tombola is designed to address all aspects associated with the policing of the Halloween period, including the prevention and detection of illegal fireworks for sale and associated public disorder and anti-social behaviour.

Fireworks worth €2,300 were seized during a search in Graiguenemanagh, Co Kilkenny during the week.

He said there are seizures every year at this time of year and this will continue right up to and beyond Halloween.

McMenamin also appealed to the public to contact gardaí if they know of anyone who may be selling or storing fireworks.

Speaking at the launch of the safety campaign, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said it is important that anyone who intends to illegally purchase fireworks to mark Halloween “knows that these devices can be extremely dangerous and cause very serious injuries”.

“I want young people and their parents in particular to be aware of the risks – fireworks may be beautiful to watch but can be devastating if handled incorrectly.”

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