As the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service gears up for one of its busiest nights of the year, it is urging the public to heed key fire safety messages.
Group Manager for West Lothian Stuart Stevens said: “The fifth of November is one of the busiest days of the year for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
“Unsupervised bonfires greatly increase the number of calls to the fire service and they present a real risk to the public, property and wildlife.
“Wasting time and resources attending unsafe or uncontrolled bonfires could mean a critical delay in local fire crews attending a real life- threatening emergency.
“While we are pleased to see the number of call outs has reduced in recent years, we are by no means complacent and are encouraging everyone to take responsibility to reduce the number of incidents this year.
“Every year we work closely with our partners to raise awareness of the risks and dangers associated with unsupervised bonfires and fireworks.
“Our staff have visited local schools and community groups to highlight our key safety messages and advice.
“Deliberate fire setting is an offence and we would encourage people to report any information relating to individuals who may be responsible for fire setting to Police Scotland using the 101 non-emergency number.”
Vice chair of the Environment Policy Scrutiny and Development Panel, Barry Robertson also urged people to follow the fireworks code.
He said: “The instructions are on the box and it is worth taking a few minutes to remind yourself and prepare before your event starts.
“Our waste services and trading standards teams have also issued advice to help our communities stay safe.”
Sergeant John Jackson of West Lothian Community Safety Unit, said: “Every year we work with our partners to raise awareness of the risks and dangers associated with unsupervised bonfires and fireworks.
“We want everyone to have fun but first and foremost to stay safe. To reduce the number of incidents this year we are encouraging everyone to take responsibility for their displays and follow the firework code.”
Unfortunately, last year there were a number of ‘violence to crews’ incidents with fireworks being thrown.
Stuart added: “We hope our efforts to engage with the local community and our work in youth diversion schemes makes it clear that this type of anti-social behaviour is not acceptable to us or the wider public.”
Ed Machin, trading standards manager, asked people to remember that fireworks must not be used outside the hours of 7am to 11pm. The exception to this is on November 5 when they can be used until midnight.
Shop keepers are also being reminded that, unless they have a special all-year selling licence, they can only sell fireworks between 15 October 15 and November 10.
To help reduce the risk of waste containers being set on fire, residents are asked to take them off the street as soon as possible after they are emptied.
And if you have a bulky uplift organised, present it on the correct day and follow the instructions given.
For more advice please visit the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website www.firescotland.gov.uk.