Busy bonfire and fireworks period reported by Lothian and Borders fire service

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Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service have issued details of the busy bonfire and fireworks period, which shows an increase on last year’s activity.

Latest statistics show that Control Room staff processed 1181 calls during the period October 31, 2011, to November 7, 2011, up from 968 calls last year.

To some degree, this was expected due to the mild weather this year in comparison with heavy rain last November.

Fire crews attended 231 bonfires, again up on last year when they attended 151 bonfire related calls. Disappointingly, they also recorded 12 incidents of violence to crews with firefighters being subjected to verbal abuse and targeted by missiles as they carried out their duties.

David Lockhart, Community Safety Manager at Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: “We have worked really hard in the past few years to raise awareness of the impact bonfire night and related activities have on the fire service. Although figures are up this year, possibly in part due to the mild weather the number of calls is still down from years gone by when we have processed as many as 2000 calls and attended at a higher number of bonfires.

“Every year the run up to November 5 places significant demands on our Service. However, we do believe more people are choosing to attend organised events, which reduces that burden on us. It seems that the public is also aware of and paying attention to fire safety advice in relation to bonfires and fireworks. Fortunately, we did not record any serious injuries at any of these types of incidents where we attended.

“Raising awareness of the impact bonfire night and related festivities has on the Service and education, particularly in schools and work with our partner agencies at local authorities and the police have helped to reduce the number of calls we receive in comparison to years gone by. This is something we will continue to do.”