Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
Fireworks should not be bought from ice cream vans says PSNI
The PSNI has warned the community against purchasing fireworks from a disreputable source.
Speaking at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership on Wednesday night, Inspector Beverlie Reid said that this can include ice cream vans.
Inspector Reid also stated that a licence issued by the Department of Justice must be obtained in advance of an outdoor display and fireworks should not be purchased anywhere other than a shop.
She pointed out that police have powers to stop and search a vehicle or anyone suspected of transporting fireworks illegally.
The inspector warned that this will be stepped up on the approach to Halloween.
She went on to say that neighbourhood policing teams are working with schools to remind pupils that their behaviour can have a “knock-on effect on the community around them”.
Also addressing the meeting was Ballymena District Station Commander Alan Barr, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, who reminded that misuse of fireworks can result in “life-threatening, life changing” injuries such as loss of eyes.
He reiterated the need to purchase fireworks from a “legitimate retailer” and from an unopened pack bearing a CE safety mark.
He also noted that fireworks should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18 years.
He advised those considering a Halloween party to inform neighbours in advance as a courtesy and also in a bid to avoid “unnecessary” calls to the fire service on a traditionally busy night.
He also stressed that those in charge of fireworks should not take alcohol. They should be lit “at arms length” and away from children. He added that no-one should pick up a firework that has not exploded.
He also underlined the need for safety when using sparklers warning that they should not be given to very young children as they are more at risk from burns. A bucket of cold water should also be kept nearby for safe disposal of sparklers.
The fire officer also highlighted the potential danger of fancy dress costumes which he emphasised should not be exposed to a naked flame.
He advised that any fires lit in a garden should not be near hedges, guttering or oil tanks.