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Firefighters braced for busiest night of the year as Halloween festivities begin

High Priestess of the Morrigan Juztina from Luxe Theatre takes part in the Púca Festival in Trim, Co Meath. Picture: Julien Behal

The devastating damage done to a mannequin’s hand by a prematurely exploded firework.

Seoirse MulgrewIndependent.ie

Dublin Fire Brigade has warned of the possibility of “catastrophic” injuries as a result of using fireworks this Halloween.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer John Guilfoyle urged the public to be aware of the dangers of using illegal fireworks and asked people to celebrate the festivities in a safe manner.

Mr Guilfoyle said last year the fire service received over 400 calls over a six-hour period on Halloween night.

“Halloween is traditionally our busiest night of the year, the biggest concentration of activity on Halloween evening concentrates from 6pm to just shortly after midnight,” he told Independent.ie.

“Looking over the data, in 2021 you’d be looking at 400 calls over that six-hour period and the busiest hour of that year would have been from 6pm to 7pm where we received 91 calls.

“It would have been 640 in 2020. It is notable that over a 10-year period, looking at the Halloween statistics, thankfully we are seeing an overall reduction in call volumes.

“I do have to stress that the call volume on Halloween is far in excess of our normal call volumes and places a huge workload on our service.

“In addition to that we would also be managing our normal workload and that’s our fire and ambulance emergency calls which are received in the East Regional Control Centre that’s located in our Tara Street headquarters.

“The ERCC handles all the fire calls for the Leinster, Cavan and Monaghan area and we also process the 999 emergency calls for Dublin city and county.

“We want people to be responsible on the evening, we want people to engage with organised events and we certainly don’t want people to engage with any antisocial behavior.”

Mr Guilfoyle said local authorities along with the gardaí have been dismantling a number of stockpiles in the run up to Halloween.

“We want to stress to people not to be using fireworks, we want to communicate the danger of fireworks, and this puts additional pressure on busy accident and emergency departments. Fireworks are illegal which means you can’t be certain of any particular standard,” he said.

“They can detonate unexpectedly and cause anything from minor to severe burns to loss of limbs or sight, so they can be catastrophic injuries that don’t have to happen.

“If you are going to visit a bonfire, we would advise people to keep back from it and ensure your children are supervised. You also have no real idea what the contents of a bonfire are, and they could be giving off toxic fumes and smoke.”

Mr Guilfoyle asked the public not to disrupt the emergency services while they’re carrying out their necessary duties.

“In my experience in the service, I’ve come across incidents where we’ve been shouted at, verbally abused, pushed, punched, stones and missiles thrown at fire engines and to be honest all of our crews going for duty on Halloween, it is at the back of our minds that I hope I’m not going to be injured today,” he said.

“We would ask the public to please respect the emergency services, if we are arriving at an incident and we do have to take action, we’re taking that because either there is a threat to life, a threat to property or there’s an environmental issue.”


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