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Safety first Public urged to avoid fireworks and bonfires this Halloween after Dublin Fire Brigade sees surge in call-outs

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DUBLIN Fire Brigade (DFB) is urging the public to avoid using illegal fireworks or lighting bonfires this Halloween.

DFB station manager, Darren O'Connor, said firefighters have already experienced a 300pc increase in the number of small-fire call-outs this year in comparison to last year's figures.

"Normally we do see things starting to hot up for Halloween from September when the schools start back, but this year, especially, there has been a massive increase," he said.

"Already in the last six weeks, we've probably attended 700 small fires, and at least two hundred have been a bonfire so that's huge, it's about a 300pc increase this year on figures from last year."

He warned that bonfires can cause "massive damage" to community areas, such as fields, and can cause major environmental and health impacts due to the toxins the fires release.

However, he said if people do engage in lighting bonfires this Halloween to make sure to keep back from the fire, have a fire blanket near by, and to keep the bonfire small.

"If you bringing kids to bonfires keep them well back. The thing about bonfires is you don't know what's in them. There's household items, there's aerosols, there's gas canisters," Mr O'Connor advised.

"You don't know how they're going to behave. Bonfires stacked really high will collapse as the fire develops. If kids are too close the costumes will catch fire, the skin will burn, you can sustain injuries.

"For people in the community that are planning to have a small fire, the advice again is not to light it, but on practical level we know people are going to engage in them. Have a fire blanket there, just in case someone's clothing does catch fire. Keep the fire small, don't make it too large and don't use petrol or accelerants."

Mr O'Connor also highlighted that fireworks are illegal in Ireland under the Criminal Justice Act 2006 and Explosives Act 1875.

It is illegal to light an unlicensed firework, have an unlicensed firework, or to have an unlicensed firework with the intention of selling it or giving it to someone else.

Those found guilty of these offences could face fines of €10,000 and five years in prison.

"The small bangers and rockets, even though theyre small, they've got massive explosive force in them, and they do maim and they do cause massive serious injuries," he added.

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