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Cambridge residents urged to put safety first for Bonfire Night and Diwali this year

News release from 04/11/2020

CAMBRIDGE City Council is backing Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and other emergency services to help keep people and animals safe during this year’s fireworks season and Diwali festival.    

With many organised events cancelled across the county due to coronavirus, including the council’s annual display which usually takes place on Midsummer Common in Cambridge, emergency services are preparing for a busier night than usual on 5 November.  

There is an emerging concern that more people will plan displays and bonfires to celebrate in their own gardens, which could pose a risk. 

That is why the council is asking Cambridge residents to show respect for the emergency services this Bonfire Night, to think twice about holding fireworks displays or lighting bonfires in their gardens – and to exercise real caution if they do.

Following the Government’s announcement of a further month-long national lockdown, from Thursday 5 November different households will not be allowed to mix indoors or outdoors, so any activities from that date would be restricted to members of a household plus support bubbles. 

The council is also urging people to consider the welfare of domestic and wild animals if additional home fireworks displays and bonfires take place in people’s gardens. 

The RSPCA has reported that more private firework displays lead to them receiving more calls about animals affected. Research show that 62% of dogs and 54% of cats show signs of distress during fireworks, and that they can also frighten or injure farm animals and wild animals. 

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “I love firework displays, and am so sad to be missing the Midsummer Common fireworks this year. And I know that so many people feel the same. But we would strongly discourage people from lighting bonfires or holding fireworks displays in back gardens as they present significant risks to residents if they get out of hand, as well as causing great distress and possible harm to animals.  

“Although Bonfire Night and Diwali look a little different this year, there are still ways families can enjoy them safely. There are lots of family friendly activities people can do at home, such as watching a virtual display, decorating windows, dressing up in sparkly clothes, or doing some crafts together to mark the occasion, without putting loved ones at risk. 

“If not used correctly, fireworks can cause injury and damage, and smoke can also aggravate breathing difficulties, including coronavirus symptoms.” 

“Holding fireworks displays or lighting bonfires at home could present risks for residents and fire crews. Especially at this difficult time, we are all responsible for not putting unnecessary strain on emergency services and the NHS.  

“It’s a shame we can’t enjoy these celebrations as usual but if we all do the right things this year we can keep those we love and the city safe. And hopefully next year we can all be back together again.” 

For more information from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service visit https://www.cambsfire.gov.uk/community-safety/outdoor-safety/firework-safety/