The county’s fire services are appealing to members of the public for their assistance in ensuring Hallowe’en goes by without any serious injury or avoidable emergency call-outs.
Senior assistant chief fire officer in Mullingar Fire Station, Declan Cahill, said that while they are not out to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of Hallowe’en festivities, they are worried about the safety of people and property.
“Hallowe’en is definitely the busiest night of the year for us. We could have up to 10 or 15 calls, and a couple of years ago we had 40 calls throughout the county on Hallowe’en night. On average we get between 450 and 500 calls each year, so on a normal day we would have one to two calls,” explained Mr Cahill.
“If we are called out and there is an immediate risk we will have to deal with it, and this may mean extinguishing a bonfire for people’s protection. Bonfires will inevitably happen anyway, and the best advice is to have them well managed and parents involved. We would also advise people not to put anything into fires that could do any damage, such as aerosol cans which will explode.
“The explosive nature of pyrotechnics also poses an imminent danger. They are illegal but still appear every year. Hospital accident and emergency departments could tell a lot of stories of the injuries they’ve seen. A&Es are always busy at Hallowe’en.”
Westmeath County Council have also issued a Hallowe’en bonfire warning, highlighting the serious threat posed by bonfires to public health, property, and the environment, as well as the risk of personal injury and antisocial behaviour.
“These fires pose a danger of damage to property and risk of injury. Remember it affects everyone and everything in your neighbourhood, children, the elderly, pets, and other animals,” warns the council.
“Westmeath County Council is urging all businesses and households not to supply your waste for burning in a bonfire or hand over waste material to any unauthorised waste collector. You could be liable to a fine of up to €3,000.”
Anyone with any information which may be of assistance to the Gardai is asked to contact Mullingar Garda Station at (044 ) 9384000.