Care urged around Halloween bonfires and fireworks
Firefighters say water restrictions will create extra pressure on busy night
Halloween masks are offered for salein Chicago, Illinois. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images
A number of campaign groups and organisations have advised the public to be careful this Halloween around bonfires and fireworks. Revellers have also been urged to be considerate of elderly people and animals while celebrating tonight.
In Leinster, fire services have said the introduction of water restrictions in the province could not have come at a worse time. The Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association said the shortage will put extra pressure on fire on one of the busiest nights of the year.
However, Dublin City Council said water restrictions will not impact on how the service deals with incidents tonight. It has also reminded the public that bonfires are illegal.
Meanwhile members of the public have been advised against burning tyres amid increased reports that old tyres are being stolen from dealerships ahead of tonight’s bonfires.
“We have heard many reports from our tyre dealer customers on the ground of increased incidences of theft of old tyres in the run up to Halloween. We have to assume that these have been stolen with a view to burning them on Halloween bonfires and we would strongly advise against that,” said Tom Dennigan from Continental Tyres Ireland.
“Aside from it being illegal, smoke from burning tyres carries toxins that are detrimental to both humans and animals,” he said.
Health workers are also anticipating a heavier workload tonight and expect to deal with significant numbers of falls and burns injuries.
Dr Brian Gaffney, medical director of Vhi SwiftCare Clinics said people should avoid long costumes which might cause trips and falls. He also advised parents to make sure their child’s costume is made of flame resistant materials.
The National Burns Unit at St James’s Hospital warned that people can sustain severe injuries if their costumes come into contact with naked flames from bonfires or candles and in some cases skin grafts could be required.
Campaign group Age Action has called on people to be mindful of their older neighbours when setting off bangers and fireworks or when accompanying younger children as they go trick-or-treating.
“Age Action would like to remind people that what seems like harmless fun for some can cause terrible distress to older people who may be frail, nervous or living alone,” the organisation said in a statement. “Older people are not being mean if they don’t open their doors, they may just be too afraid to.”
Separately, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has asked members of the public to check for hedgehogs before lighting bonfires. In autumn hedgehogs start looking for places to hibernate and unlit bonfires can seem like an ideal refuge.
The organisation called on people to help hedgehogs avoid a “terrible and unnecessary death” by searching their bonfire with a torch and a rake and moving any hedgehogs to safety.
Irish Guide Dogs have also urged the public to be aware of the “devastating effects of fireworks on guide and assistance dogs”, saying exposure to fireworks can actually force working dogs into early retirement.