Special team to be on call on Bonfire Night in Hampshire

BE SAFE Fire crews will be on patrol on November 5. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113896-351)
BE SAFE Fire crews will be on patrol on November 5. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113896-351)

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A SPECIALIST team of firefighters, police and council staff will deal with calls on Bonfire Night.

The Bonfire Assessment Team (BAT) will be sent out on November 5 whenever an emergency call comes in regarding bonfires. The team will get to a call-out first, see what help is required and call for back-up if needed.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service introduced the team in 2006 after a number of fire engines turned up to the same bonfire because it had been reported by several members of the public.

The team will run from Southsea fire station from 4pm to 10pm.

Fire crews will work through the night and any fires reported after this time will be put out.

Station manager Glen Bowyer said: ‘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.’

In 2006 there were 58 fire service call-outs on Bonfire Night across Portsmouth.

Since the BAT was introduced, this number has been falling each year.

In 2007 there were 42 calls and in 2008 only 30 were made.

In 2009, there were 23 and there were seven calls in 2010.

Last year, the figure rose to 13, but the fire service has put this down to Bonfire Night falling on a Saturday, meaning more were lit.

The following safety advice has also been issued:

· Don’t buy fireworks from anywhere you’re not sure about.

· Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or with a CE mark.

· Follow the instructions on each firework – read them in daylight or by torchlight, never by a naked flame.

· Make suitable supports and launchers.

· Store fireworks in a closed metal box to store the fireworks.

· Keep a bucket of water to cool sparklers and put out small fires.

Visit hantsfire.gov.uk/fireworksafety.