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Ministers launch Firework Safety Campaign

Justice Minister David Ford and Public Safety Minister Edwin Poots have urged the public to stay safe and within the law this Halloween.
Thursday, 4 October 2012

If everyone acts responsibly and adheres to the Firework Code we can help reduce injuries and ensure Halloween is a fun experience for all.

Minister of Justice David Ford MLA,Northern Ireland Department of Justice

The Ministers were launching this year’s Fireworks Safety Awareness Campaign which seeks to reduce the number of injuries caused by fireworks.

The Ministers were joined by young people from Forthspring Community Youth Service at Farset International, who were given a demonstration on the importance of fireworks safety and reminded that fireworks should only be lit in a safe and controlled environment by a responsible adult.

The campaign is delivered in partnership between the DOJ and DHSSPS who work closely with the PSNI and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

The campaign specifically targets young people and will include advertisements across television, cinema, radio and social networking sites. A drama group will also visit a number of schools reinforcing the firework safety message.  Schools will also receive safety information and resources as well as visits by Police and Fire and Rescue Service officers who will deliver safety presentations.

Justice Minister David Ford said: “I want everyone to enjoy fireworks safely and legally this Halloween.  To obtain and use fireworks you must buy a licence from the Department of Justice. Fireworks must only be purchased from a supplier who has been registered with the Department.

“Last year 20 young people suffered fireworks injuries.  We need to reduce these figures and keep our young people safe which is why our campaign will specifically target a younger audience and their parents.

“If everyone acts responsibly and adheres to the Firework Code we can help reduce injuries and ensure Halloween is a fun experience for all.”

Details on using fireworks safely and how to apply for a licence are available from Licence applications should be submitted to the Department of Justice by 23 October 2012.

Public Safety Minister Edwin Poots said: “Halloween is meant to be a time of festivities and fireworks. I would urge everyone involved with fireworks to use them safely to avoid the terrible injuries we have seen in the past.

“I’m delighted to see that the numbers of fireworks related injuries are decreasing but let’s not be complacent. Every one of us using or watching fireworks has a duty of care to ensure fireworks are handled responsibly: by behaving responsibly we can all help prevent fireworks related injuries to children and young people.

“I’d also like to remind people of the traumatic effects that fireworks can have on pets and farm animals, and appeal again to everyone to stay safe and act responsibly.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Dale Ashford, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: “Last year’s 41% reduction in the number of people attending Emergency Departments across Northern Ireland with firework-related injuries is encouraging, however we want to reach a time in Northern Ireland when there are no firework-related injuries.  Following the Fireworks Code and acting responsibly when handling fireworks and sparklers will ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Halloween this year.

“Always follow the manufacturer’s advice on how to light and use fireworks and sparklers correctly. Never go near a lit firework, even if it hasn’t gone off, as it could still explode and always let fireworks cool and dispose of them carefully. Never allow small children or pets to go near fireworks. Remember fireworks are safe and can be fun but only if you use them properly.”

In support of the campaign the PSNI have warned that they will be increasing their efforts to disrupt the illegal sale and importation of fireworks and will take firm action on anti-social behaviour.

Chief Superintendent Mark Hamilton, Service Improvement Department, Police Service of Northern Ireland said: "Most people enjoy the festivities at Halloween, however, there are serious consequences associated with the misuse of fireworks. Anti-social behaviour can cause fear and distress, especially amongst our older people and more vulnerable members of the community.

"The Police Service of Northern Ireland has a robust approach to tackling the misuse of fireworks. We will not hesitate to take action where individuals are involved in anti-social behaviour, underage drinking and street drinking. During the Halloween break, I would urge all parents to make sure they know where their children are and what they are doing.

"Our Officers across all areas of Northern Ireland will be making particular efforts to disrupt the illegal sale and importation of fireworks.  I would ask everyone to follow the official advice and have a safe but enjoyable Halloween.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. Information for members of the public on the law on fireworks and advice on using fireworks safely can also be found at
  2. The partnership which produces the Firework Safety Awareness Campaign was established in 2007 and has also received support from ROSPA, Environmental Health Agency, NI Policing Board and NI Ambulance Service.
  3. Last year the number of children under the age of 18 who suffered a firework injury was 20, comparable with 29 children in 2010 and 16 in 2009.
  4. Members of the public are encouraged to pass information about the illegal sale and use of fireworks to the PSNI or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  5. For all media queries, please contact the DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.