Could you live with this?

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service hopes that this year’s Bonfire period is one of the safest on record. We are committed to doing whatever we can to make sure that the coming Diwali, Halloween and Bonfire season is a safe and happy one for everyone – and that includes our own staff.

This year we have worked with Connor Rowntree who we previously worked with in 2012, to produce a film about his journey from that day back in May 2009 when he was involved in a house fire that changed his life forever.

“Could you live with this?” is the real-life story of a young man from Sunderland, who was involved in a fire at home and received 90% burns/injuries to his whole body. Conner’s story is a graphic and shocking account of his life after the fire and into adulthood. The film – which we are showing to secondary school pupils – is a powerful and shocking reminder of the dangers of fire.

The campaign also focuses upon the associated candle risks to the general public during Diwali, through to Halloween and onto risks from fireworks over the Bonfire weekend. It also consists of:

  • School visits to show children the “Could you live with this” film and talk to them about the dangers of misuse
  • Posters, highlighting the risks to young people from fire misuse

TWFRS Area Manager – Community Safety – Lynsey McVay commented:

“Diwali, Halloween and Bonfire Night are great family occasions. But sadly, there are also some people who will deliberately misuse fireworks – risking their own lives, and the lives and property of others.

Our messages are clear: we are here to ensure you enjoy a safe Bonfire period; but fireworks are dangerous and can injure, kill and destroy property. We will always recommend that to have a great Bonfire Night, go to an organised display. We also urge parents to talk to their children about the dangers of firework and fire misuse – watch Connor’s story to fully understand the potential impact. No one would want to go through what Connor and his family did. The fact they were planning his funeral is almost unbearable for any parent to hear.”

All emergency services are urging families to go to organised firework displays – links to which can be found on the TWFRS website. They are also advising that families who are celebrating Diwali and Halloween take care with the use of candles, and ensure that children don’t wear loose clothes around them. They should also make sure that fancy-dress costumes comply with EC standards and are made from flame retardant material.