Firefighters have urged Scots not to host private firework displays and not to attack crews on bonfire night.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has issued a plea for the public to reconsider if they are planning to hold a firework display or to behave sensibly if they do, warning of devastating injuries and the distress pyrotechnics can cause.
Last year’s bonfire night saw 12 attacks on firefighters, who responded to 1100 calls within an eight-hour period on November 5.
Ahead of firework displays this year, the SFRS said that many of the usual large-scale events will again be cancelled because of Covid-19 and the Cop26 climate summit taking place in Glasgow during the first two weeks of November.
As a result, the fire service fears more private displays will go ahead but has issued a plea for anyone planning one to “think again”.
Deputy assistant chief officer Alasdair Perry, the SFRS’s head of prevention and protection, said bonfire night could be “significantly different” to years before the pandemic.
He said: “The service is well resourced and prepared for this annual period of celebrations that includes Halloween, Diwali and Bonfire Night, as well as this year Cop26, and we have robust measures in place to ensure we can continue to respond to emergencies.
“There is no doubt that we welcome the continuing support of our communities – by following all available safety guidance from ourselves and our partners, they can help reduce the risk of harm wherever possible.
“What we’re asking this year is for the public to consider the risks of hosting a private event involving either fire or fireworks.
“Every year people are injured by bonfires and fireworks and admitted to hospital – and children are particularly at risk.
“We are therefore strongly encouraging anyone who is considering having a private event to think again.
“Those who choose to do so should familiarise themselves with the fireworks code and fire safety guidance. Do not take risks because the consequences can be devastating.”
He added: “We know it’s a very small minority of people who engage in anti-social behaviour, but there’s no question it can impact on our firefighters and operations control colleagues as well as our partners.
“A deliberate fire can also put property, resources and indeed lives at risk so it goes without saying that we will always take a zero-tolerance approach to fire-setting and attacks on our crews.
“We are continuing to engage positively with young people wherever possible to raise awareness of the dangers.”
The Scottish Government’s minister for community safety, Ash Denham, said: “Fireworks can be hugely damaging and distressing and that is why it is now illegal for the general public to set off fireworks before 6pm and after 11pm.
“This is extended to midnight on November 5.
“This is an important step forward in tackling the misuse of fireworks and I encourage anyone who witnesses or has information about criminality relating to fireworks to report it, so that action can be taken to prevent further harm to our communities.”