Portsmouth: Extra Measures In Place For Bonfire Night

5 November 2014, 06:02

As thousands of families across the South Coast gear up to celebrate Bonfire Night - police and fire crews are preparing for an extra-busy night.

A special Bonfire Assessment Team will be working in Portsmouth to make sure none are illegal or getting out of control.

These measures will be in place over the following out of normal hours (17:00 to 08:30) period until Thursday 6 November and will run alongside existing fire reduction measures.

During this period COLAS will also provide an out of hour's service to remove combustible materials that constitute a high risk to public safety if left on site for normal collection. All departments will have access to this service such as Community Wardens, Parking Officers, First Wessex Housing Association, Portsmouth University and Police.

Further special measures on the 5 November will consist of the Bonfire Assessment Team (BAT) operating from 4pm to 10pm. The BAT is drawn from Police, HFRS, Community wardens and COLAS.

Supporting the BAT and the overall operation will be dedicated teams of Special Constables who will have their own transport and will be deployed on the command of the BAT as required. This team will be operational from 6pm to 10pm. Police support to the BAT before the Special Constables come on duty will be supported by police using normal resources.

The BAT will be on call and will respond as a first response to reported non-authorised bonfires and will decide on what action will be taken with the fire.

Mark Larrimore, Station Commander at Southsea Fire Station, says:

"The team will be sympathetic to the celebration period and will let people have their fun and not insist that all fires are extinguished, however, in the past some bonfires have got out of control. If they carry a risk to life or property or affect nearby residents then we will have to step in."

Gerry McDougall, Housing Management ASB Co-ordinator says:

"Using the BAT's isn't about stopping people from having a good time. It's to ensure they can celebrate the season in the way it should be celebrated - safely. Residents who are concerned about a bonfire should still dial 999."

Portsmouth District Chief Inspector Ali Heydari said:

"Tackling anti-social behaviour is a priority for Hampshire Constabulary and police officers will be targeting hotspot areas across the two counties during Halloween and Bonfire Night to ensure that people are respecting others in their local neighbourhood.

"We're not saying that we don't want people to have fun, we just want to impress upon those taking part the need to behave appropriately and to be considerate of others."

The council's given some Top Tips for Safety on Bonfire Night:

Never use petrol, or any kind of accelerant, to light or fuel a fire.

Make sure that all fireworks have passed the British Safety Standards

Once they have gone out put sparklers in bucket of water or sand. Sparklers burn five times hotter than cooking oil and must be treated with care.

Make sure all animals are kept indoors and that young children are under constant adult supervision.

Always follow the fireworks code:
- Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114.
- Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
- Keep fireworks in a closed non-flammable box.
- Follow the instructions on each firework.
- Light them at arm's length, using a taper.
- Stand well back.
- Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn't gone off, it could still explode.
- Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
- Always supervise children around fireworks.
- Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.

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