Have you carried out your Fire Prevention Obligations?

During the summer period in Northern Ireland there is an increase of Bonfires in the communities which sometimes can result in accidents happening if proper safety measures are not taken so below we have highlighted how to stay safe around Bonfires this year.

Once the bonfire is lit, make sure you:

  1. keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies
  2. don’t leave the bonfire unattended
  3. keep children and pets away from the bonfire
  4. don’t throw any fireworks into the fire
  5. don’t burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint – many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode, causing injury
  6. Once the bonfire has died down, spray the embers with water to stop it reigniting.

To reduce the emission of harmful smoke and combustion products bonfires should comprise of untreated wood and paper based materials only.There is a danger of explosion from pressured containers or sealed vessels among bonfire material or irresponsibly thrown on burning bonfires also smoke from bonfires must not pose a public nuisance, affect visibility on roads or otherwise inconvenience vehicles.

You should never leave a burning/smouldering bonfire unsupervised and make sure it is completely extinguished and any bonfire failing to satisfy safety conditions or where people are behaving irresponsibly may be deemed dangerous and as such, subject to being either removed, extinguished or otherwise made safe.

General bonfire safety

Bonfires must be built at least 10m downwind from vegetation, tents and caravans and well away from hedges, fences, sheds or buildings. You should also Clear a patch of bare earth to build the fire on and also check immediately before lighting that there is no animal or a young child hidden inside.

  • Keep bonfires to a manageable size and evenly built so that they collapse inwards as they burn
  •  Do not put batteries, aerosols or other gas cylinders on the fire
  • Avoid having a bonfire in windy weather conditions
  • Remove any rubbish from your bonfire area in advance so nothing can be thrown onto the fire on the night.

And most importantly If a bonfire does get out of control, do not attempt to tackle it yourself – call 999