Multi-agency group highlights dangers around bonfires

Published: 24th October 2016

A bonfire multi-agency group of representatives from Fermanagh and Omagh PCSP, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, PSNI, NIHE and NIFRS has expressed concern around the dangers associated with bonfires.

The group wishes to raise awareness of health hazards and environmental issues which are often overlooked but yet can’t be ignored.

Fermanagh and Omagh PCSP Chairperson Cllr Keith Elliott said:

“Bonfires have a seriously detrimental effect on health and the wider environment.  It is not possible to have a bonfire, of any sort, without it causing air pollution and releasing chemicals into the environment.  The immediate health risks may be low, but increased air pollution may cause long term problems for children, asthmatics or bronchitis sufferers.

Fire can quickly spread to fences and buildings. Exploding bottles, gas drums and cans are a hazard when burned.  Materials such as aerosols, batteries, foam filled furniture, paint tins and tyres should not be burned.”

Community Planning Sergeant Scott Fallis said:

“Police are pleased to be working with other agencies and local community residents to discuss their concerns in relation to bonfires and the burning of hazardous waste.

We fully understand the impact this issue can have on those living and working in the area and whilst we acknowledge that for some, bonfires represent an important part of Northern Ireland’s culture and legacy, they can also cause concerns for other members of our communities.

We continue to work with our partners and other public and statutory bodies, as well as community representatives, to address any community safety issues.”

Station Commander, Jim McClintock, Enniskillen District, NIFRS said:

“Bonfires can easily get out of control if they are not built safely and properly supervised.  We would appeal to people not to use tyres on bonfires.  The burning of tyres releases toxic fumes, which are harmful to the environment and also cause hazardous health conditions for those attending or living close to the bonfire.  NIFRS plays a central role in protecting our community and we want people to be safe, act responsibly and use common sense this Halloween.”

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