Scots have been issued with advice on how to safely enjoy this year’s Bonfire Night.
The country’s new national consumer advice service has published advice around fireworks sales, the impact on pets, and how to stay safe.
Last month, a Scottish Government consultation found that 94 per cent of people want more controls over the sale of fireworks and 87 per cent would welcome a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public in Scotland.
Sainsbury’s has announced a ban on the sale of fireworks and other retailers are selling low-noise fireworks.
Advice from consumeradvice.scot on fireworks and bonfires:
The law: The Fireworks Regulations 2004 requires a retailer to display a sign where fireworks are supplied or exposed for supply, stating that it is illegal to a) sell adult fireworks or sparklers to anyone under 18; b) for anyone under 18 to possess adult fireworks. Anyone with concerns about illegal fireworks can contact consumeradvice.scot for free, impartial and practical advice.
Animals: Keep animals indoors, in the quietest part of the property. Pets should not be left alone for long periods of time, especially on the louder nights, and owners are advised to act as calmly as possible with pets, rewarding calm behaviour, using the sounds of TV or radio as background noise and comfort.
Safety: • Always try to attend an officially organised display – be aware of surroundings if setting a bonfire at home If a bonfire must be set at home, ensure this is kept well away from buildings, vehicles, trees, hedges, fences, power lines, telecommunications equipment and sheds. Bonfires should not impact upon visibility on roads or otherwise inconvenience vehicles.
• Be conscious of your own and neighbour’s wellbeing (including any animals) Ensure that smoke / flying embers from the fire do not cause a nuisance to neighbours’ person or property. Remember that certain materials can cause the emission of harmful smoke and combustion. Pressurised containers and sealed vessels amongst bonfire material pose a risk of explosion – be aware. Ensure pets are kept indoors and in as quiet a place as possible.
• Alcohol and fire don’t mix Don’t go near fireworks or bonfires when under the influence of alcohol. Ignoring local by-laws and drinking in public places is still illegal. Police may issue fixed penalty tickets or send a report in relation to this to the Procurator Fiscal.
• Don’t throw fireworks onto the bonfire and avoid use of flammable liquids to ignite bonfires. Use proprietary firelighters and avoid flammable liquids
• Never leave a burning / smouldering bonfire unsupervised and never leave children unsupervised. Make sure that bonfires are completely extinguished and not left unattended. Keep children safe by ensuring they are kept away from bonfires and at a safe distance from fireworks.
Lorna Yelland, team leader with consumeradvice.scot, said: “This Bonfire Night, the best advice is to enjoy it safely. “When buying fireworks, the law is clear – it is illegal to sell adult fireworks to children or for anyone under 18 to possess adult fireworks. “This can be a stressful time for pets, and we would advise owners to keep animals in the quietest part of the property and act as calmly as possible if fireworks are going off outside. “It is vital to stay safe, and the best advice is to try to attend an officially organised display. If you are building a bonfire at home or setting off fireworks, be aware of surroundings, be conscious of your neighbours and pets, never leave children unsupervised, and remember that alcohol and fireworks don’t mix. “Anyone with any consumer-related queries can contact the national consumer advice service, consumeradvice.scot, for free, impartial and practical advice.”
consumeradvice.scot is the country’s new national consumer advice service, and was launched in April this year with Scottish Government funding following the devolution of further powers to Holyrood. It provides free and impartial advice to people on any consumer issues.
Experts advise people of their legal rights, and can also refer complaints to Trading Standards Scotland for investigation, but cannot carry out legal action on a consumer’s behalf.
The service is operated by the charity Advice Direct Scotland.
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