Stay Safe this Bonfire Night
Residents in South Tyneside are being urged to enjoy a safe and responsible Bonfire Night while efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus continue across the Borough.
South Tyneside Council took the difficult decision to stand down this year's organised fireworks displays at South Shields seafront in order to help keep people safe amid the ongoing pandemic.
With more families likely to plan private celebrations at home this year, the Council is urging people to take great care, to act responsibly and within the law and to be considerate of their neighbours.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "We know that Bonfire Night is an exciting time for many people and we want them to enjoy it. With families likely to be staying home this year, we are urging people to think carefully about how they celebrate to ensure the safety of themselves and others.
"We are calling on people to think twice about buying fireworks for their own use and to consider safer alternative ways to celebrate. However, if they do decide to, then they need to be aware of the serious safety risks associated with fireworks and remain extremely cautious, particularly if using them for the first time.
"Residents are also urged to beware of the dangers of buying fireworks from non-legitimate sources, such as people's homes, vehicles or on social media, and to choose a licensed and reputable retailer instead.
"It is also important to be mindful that Bonfire Night can be a fearful time, particularly for vulnerable people, animals and wildlife, with the impact of multiple sudden loud noises causing a great deal of distress. Please be considerate of neighbours, let them know in advance and make sure animals and pets are safe and secure."
The Council's Trading Standards Team is visiting Borough retailers in the run up to Bonfire Night reminding them of their responsibilities on the sale and safe storage of fireworks.
Neighbourhood officers and street cleansing teams from South Tyneside Homes will also be keeping a look out for any environmental issues, including abandoned waste and litter which could be used for illegal bonfires.
To support efforts, residents are encouraged to report incidents such as unauthorised bonfires, anti-social behaviour and criminal damage, and to bring their bins in as soon as they can after being emptied by bin crews to prevent them becoming a target.
South Tyneside is currently classed as a 'high risk' area for coronavirus. Under the existing local Covid-19 restrictions, different households must not gather in any indoor setting. The rule of six must also be adhered to when meeting up with others outdoors, with a safe distance of two metres kept from anyone outside of the household or support bubble.
Councillor Atkinson said: "While we want people to have a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night, it is important that we all remain vigilant at this critical time. We appreciate it is difficult, but we must continue to follow the rules to protect ourselves and others."
For further information and advice on staying safe during the coronavirus pandemic visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coronavirus
Anyone who has any concerns about the sale of fireworks or sees any anti-social behaviour or abandoned waste is asked to call the Council's Customer Contact Centre (0191) 427 7000.
The Council operates a bulky waste collection service for the safe dispose of up to eight bulky items. Book over the phone on (0191) 427 7000 for a £5 discount on collections up until Friday 6 November. The reduced cost slots are allocated on a first-come first-served basis.
Families are also encouraged to follow the safety advice and guidance of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service around celebrating Bonfire Night and using fireworks at home. Visit www.twfire.gov.uk/bonfire for details.