Fire service urges residents and their pets to stay safe this Bonfire weekend

In the run up to Bonfire Weekend families have been urged to attend organised fireworks displays – to ensure everyone gets home safely.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have today asked residents not to set off shop-bought fireworks or start bonfires in public places.

The Service has already revealed how deliberate fires in public areas increased by 94% over the school holidays and Bonfire weekend last year.

While this Bonfire season has already seen fire crews responding to an incident in South Shield targeted with fireworks by a group of 50 children.

Today (November 1st) TWFRS, a crew from Gosforth Community Fire Station and an officer from the Prevention and Education team, visited Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter to share essential messages about the impact of fireworks on our pets something that is also rubberstamped by the RSPCA.

They (RSPCA) have shared a shocking video showing dogs shaking and shivering as explosions from fireworks continue through the night.

Shaun Kelly, who works in the TWFRS Prevention and Education Department, has called on families to attend organised displays to reduce the impact on vulnerable people and traumatised animals.

He said: “We have seen first-hand how fireworks and bonfires can cause devastating injuries if not treated in a responsible way.

“We have seen children and adults badly injured, bonfires spreading out of control and sadly also seen our firefighters attacked while keeping people safe.

“The data shows this is one of our busiest times of the year and so we want the public to work with us and think twice about buying fireworks.

“Organised displays not only have a sense of community but they offer other entertainment and have appropriate risk assessments.

“The more people who attend these displays, the lower the likelihood of someone being seriously injured.

“We have also teamed up with the RSPCA and Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter because we know the traumatic impact fireworks can have on our furry friends.

“We challenge anyone to watch the video they have released and feel okay about setting off fireworks in your garden.”

In 2022, the RSPCA published national figures stating that 1,040 cases of cats, dogs and horses were reported to the charity after the animals experienced distress as a result of fireworks.

With 64% of those reported cases being from private at-home displays highlighting the impact DIY firework displays can have on animals.

Carrie Stones, campaign manager at the RSPCA, said: “Fireworks are impacting animals each and every year – both during firework season when marked to celebrate traditional events and – more unexpectedly – out of season for other occasions.

“While many people enjoy watching displays, for many animals the dazzling spectacle of fireworks often becomes a terrifying ordeal.

“Sadly we are inundated with calls each year about welfare concerns for animals connected to fireworks and we hear first-hand how frustrated the public are that the Bonfire Night period seems to last longer than ever before.”

Anjuli Hakin, Head of Animal Welfare at Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter, has thanked the fire service for their support and offered pet owners some useful tips.

She said: “Our Shelter lovingly looks after animals all year round as we re-home unwanted pets and strays that have been brought to our doors.

“But as you can imagine Bonfire Night can be a very distressing time for all domestic and outdoor animals from dogs to horses and from cats to rabbits.

“We appreciated the Fire Service reaching out to us to help protect animals across Tyne and Wear.

“Please remember that a great deal of the animals have sensitive hearing and any loud noises can make them extremely frightened, and can leave them traumatised in the long-term.

“We would always advise to keep your animals inside the house during the duration of the Bonfire Night displays and give them extra love and hugs.”

To ensure that you and your family stay safe this Bonfire Night we have compiled all of the organised and third party displays taking place across Tyne & Wear – please click here for further information

Please stay safe this Bonfire Night and respect your emergency services.

Also if you are interested in re-homing a cat or dog ideally in the Tyneside area then why not contact Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter