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Press release - Safety at Halloween

Kildare County Council and Kildare Fire Service are urging members of the public and businesses not to supply any waste material for bonfires.

It is important at this time of year that home owners and businesses do not leave material lying around that may be taken for a bonfire.

While they have been a traditional part of Hallowe’en for many years now, bonfires and fireworks pose risks and dangers. Bonfires can be harmful for humans as they can produce toxic gases and fumes (including dioxins and other poisons) given off from burning all sorts of materials.  Empty gas cylinders and aerosol cans in the fire can explode and become deadly missiles.  Burning tyres and other toxic materials can release pollutants into the atmosphere, which is bad for our health, especially for asthma sufferers and those with respiratory diseases.

Bonfires are often built close to houses and other property presenting risks to personal safety and property. 

Halloween is one of the busiest times of the year for the fire service and responding to bonfire call outs can put a strain on existing resources.  Celina Barrett, Chief Fire Officer of Kildare Fire Services, stated: “Hallowe’en can be one the busiest times of the year for all of the emergency services. The fire service wants people to stay safe and enjoy Hallowe’en. We encourage people to enjoy the fun and avoid dangerous bonfires.”  Hallowe’en is about dressing up, trick-or-treating and having fun.  Look after young children and keep Hallowe’en costumes away from candles or other naked flames. 

Every year people put more effort into decorating their homes for Hallowe’en and pumpkins and decorations often contain candles or tea lights.  Candle safety is especially important but why take the risk? use battery operated lights within homemade lanterns and decorations.

Members of the public are also advised not to buy, use or supply fireworks.  Illegal fireworks may be manufactured without safety standards and can cause serious damage to users, particularly children. Parents should monitor their children and ensure they do not play with fireworks.  Throughout the country, every year children end up tragically injured and often scarred for life, after using illegal fireworks.

Tips for a Safe Halloween

•    If you wish to dispose of waste items (including timber, mattresses, tyres, gas bottles etc.) there are two Recycling Centres in Kildare:

            Gallows Hill, Athy tel.: 059 864 0657

            Silliot, Hill, Kilcullen, tel.: 045 482229

•    Do not leave material lying around that may be taken for use in a bonfire; many garage or garden shed items such as petrol, white spirits, diesel, aerosols, batteries, tins of paint, bottles and tyres are especially dangerous if set on fire.

•    Parents, business and householders should not provide any materials for bonfires.

•    Do not facilitate illegal bonfires or firework displays on or near your home or  property.

•    Contact the Fire Brigade by calling 999 or 112 if you see a bonfire being lit close to buildings, trees, overhead cables, underground services or car parking areas.

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