Fireworks Signal Launch Of Public Safety Campaign

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A fireworks display today marked the launch of the 2008 fireworks awareness, safety and enforcement campaign.

Two local schools were invited to join this year's campaign launch at Whitla Street Fire Station.

The children, from Seaview Primary School and St Patrick's College, were given a demonstration of the importance of fireworks safety, and of the need to have a licence.

Speaking about the campaign, the Public Safety Minister Michael McGimpsey said: "Halloween is a time closely associated with people having fun and parties and, of course, with fireworks. Unfortunately, while they are entertaining and exciting, if not handled properly fireworks can be extremely dangerous, leading to injuries, often serious ones.

"I want families to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween, which is why the launch of today's fireworks safety campaign is so important."

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Security Minister Paul Goggins said: "You must have a licence to buy and use fireworks. If you don't, you are breaking the law and risk getting a criminal record. By buying fireworks illegally, you are lining the pockets of the organised criminals who are profiting from their sale, and taking a serious risk with your own personal safety."

Peter Craig, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: "The run up to Halloween is always a busy period for our firefighters. We want everyone in the community to enjoy themselves but to do so safely and responsibly. Fireworks can be dangerous and without proper supervision they can cause serious injury.

"We would appeal to the public – parents, young people and community leaders – to always follow the Firework Code and plan any Firework display in advance to make it both safe and enjoyable."

PSNI Chief Superintendent Brian Maguire said: "We want people to enjoy their Halloween festivities. However, the community must realise there are serious consequences associated with misuse of fireworks.

"Therefore, Police will be targeting the hotspot areas of Northern Ireland, making particular efforts to disrupt the illegal sale and importation of fireworks.

"Our officers will also be highly visible in working to tackle the issues of underage drinking, on street drinking and related anti-social behaviour."

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