By Joshua Robinson –
A joint approach amongst various agencies has led to a reduction in attacks and call-outs for firefighters on Bonfire Night.
The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) worked with police, local authorities, youth workers and schools on prevention activities in order to tackle the problem of the misuse of fireworks and attacks on firefighters.
These partnerships have resulted in the reduction of call-outs to fire crews on 5th November 2022, in comparison to recent years.
Operations Response Area Manager Scott Donegan from WYFRS said: “We are very pleased with the outcomes from last year’s bonfire night which saw a reduction in both call-outs and attacks on firefighters.”
“This is the result of a targeted approach working with partners including the police, local councils, and schools ahead of November 5th in the potential risk areas.”
In the lead-up to Bonfire Night, West Yorkshire Police and WYFRS worked together to hand out consequence cards to youths in areas with high levels of attacks on emergency workers.
The cards reminded young people of the consequences they face for attacking emergency service workers. Not only will they be arrested and charged with an offence, but the record stays with them for life and can influence the jobs they get.
On Friday (13th January 2023) the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority’s Community Safety Committee will hear how there were four attacks on Bonfire Night, being much lower than originally predicted.
These were mainly caused by fireworks being thrown at crews – no injuries were reported from these incidents.
Donegan said: “We will review what worked well – hopefully leading to better results year on year. We also appreciate the help provided by members of the community who followed safety advice and acted responsibly to keep themselves safe in their homes and gardens.”
“Having organised activities of course helps to reduce risk, but clearly there is a cost associated for those who hold such events, whether they are publicly or privately funded, and that is not something we are in a position to help with sadly.”
Donegan further stated: “We will of course offer our support where we can to those that need it to ensure communities are kept as safe as possible across West Yorkshire.”