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Waterford City and County Council encourages public to enjoy bonfire-free Halloween

With Halloween approaching Waterford City and County Council is appealing to the public to be aware of the hazards of bonfires and is also urging businesses not to supply any waste material to persons who do not hold a valid waste collection permit.

Chief Fire Office, Niall Curtin issued a warning regarding the dangers of bonfires.  “Last year, brigades from Waterford Fire Service attended 46 bonfires and other outdoor fires on Halloween night and the two weeks leading up to it.  Bonfires are dangerous, potentially leading to burns, inhalation of toxic fumes and injury from exploding cylinders and canisters. They cause significant damage to property and public amenity space.

Unfortunately, on occasion we have been faced with anti-social behaviour at these fires that has hindered fire personnel doing their jobs in a safe manner. I would urge businesses and the public to do their utmost to ensure they do not facilitate such fires. Please report the building of bonfires or storage of bonfire material to Waterford City and County Council.”

The burning of waste in bonfires, and particularly the burning of highly combustible materials may lead to serious injuries or fatalities.  Raymond Moloney, Environment Department has requested that businesses or members of the public do not supply waste material to anyone who does not hold a valid waste collection permit.

“The uncontrolled burning of waste, particularly in bonfires, is illegal and releases toxic pollutants into the air, which are known to be damaging to our health and environment.  The use of accelerants on bonfires can pose a significant safety risk and threat to the public.  We would urge the public to report materials being hoarded such as pallets, tyres, combustible waste or old furniture, by getting in touch with the Council’s Waste Enforcement Section.”

In an effort to encourage bonfire-free Halloween events, Waterford City and County Council’s Estates Management Department is working with residents’ associations throughout the city and county to create alternative, fun and safe Halloween celebrations for children and families.

Eamonn O’ Leary, Estate Management Team said, “We are engaging with local estates to highlight alternate Halloween activities for younger kids and will be running a painting competition as well as a spooky Halloween crossword competition in association with the Garda Schools Programme.

We’re encouraging parents and guardians to ensure that if children are wearing dark Halloween costumes, they carry a torch or use reflective aids or hi-vis clothing so they will be seen by motorists and cyclists. Our Estate management team is also reminding parents to be aware of elderly residents within our Estates and remind younger people to be aware of the vulnerability to noise.  Pets can become stressed by loud noises caused by bangers and bonfires so make sure your furry friend is kept indoors in a safe and in a secure place, and above all enjoy the tricks and treats safely.”

Members of public are also advised not to buy, use or supply fireworks. Illegal fireworks may be manufactured without safety standards and can cause serious damage to users, particularly children. Parents should monitor their children and ensure they do not play with fireworks. Throughout the country, every year children end up tragically injured and often scarred for life, after using illegal fireworks.

To report the storage and collection of materials for bonfires call Waterford City and County Council on 0761 102020.  Report fireworks to the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

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