With many organised events cancelled across the county, emergency services are preparing for a busier night than usual. There is an emerging concern that more people will plan displays and bonfires to celebrate in their own gardens, which could pose significant risk for those who choose to use them and people who live nearby with respiratory problems.
Dr Gary Howsam, clinical chair of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, said, “Smoke from bonfires can affect people who already have breathing problems such as asthma or COPD, but it can also affect people who have heart conditions. With coronavirus already circulating in our communities we are urging people to not have bonfires in their gardens which could then cause additional issues for people with breathing problems.
“If you do decide to come together with others this bonfire night, hopefully without a bonfire, it’s important you remember the Government’s rule of six to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.”
Head of Community Fire Safety, Group Commander Per Middleton, said: “We would strongly discourage people from lighting bonfires in back gardens as they present significant risks to residents if they get out of hand. Not only this, but the smoke can also aggravate coronavirus symptoms for those that might be shielding or isolating.”
“We would encourage residents across the county to think twice before having their own displays and lighting bonfires in their gardens this year. Not only do these present risks for residents and our crews, but with the pandemic still with us we all have a responsibility to ensure we don't put unnecessary strain on emergency services. Please show respect this Bonfire Night and think twice about having your own display.”
Fireworks can also cause a great deal of distress to animals. In a recent survey, 62 per cent of dog owners reported their pets showing signs of distress during fireworks season, with 54 per cent of cat owners experiencing the same. Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and the National Fire Chiefs Council are supporting the RSPCA’s Bang Out Of Order campaign, encouraging the responsible use of fireworks and the adoption of tighter regulations concerning their use.