School pupils challenged to safety quiz ahead of Bonfire Night

Published Wednesday, 18th October 2017
Maltby Manor School children
Pupils from Maltby Manor School with Gary Willoughby and PCSO Glyn Athersych. (photo courtesy of Rotherham Advertiser)

Be bright, be seen, be safe - that’s the message being delivered to primary school children in the run up to Bonfire Night.

Rotherham school pupils have been visited by Police Community Support Officers to chat about personal safety as part of Operation Dark Nights.

The interactive sessions include a presentation, quiz and opportunity to talk through real-life scenarios with officers from both South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR).

As well as facts around the dangers of fireworks, young people are being taught the ‘stop, drop and roll’ technique, which helps to put out flames, as well as how to behave at an organised bonfire event.

Rotherham PS Sharon Phin, who has helped to organise the sessions, said: “We run this initiative every year because it is vital that we do everything we can to help keep children safe.

“Half of all accidents involving fireworks happen to children under the age of 16 so we target our presentations to those at risk.

“Officers talk to children about sparklers, appropriate bright and reflective clothing and the need to stay close to an adult at organised events.”

Young people are also given advice about when to call 999, the implications of hoax calls and the law around buying fireworks.

“We really want everyone to enjoy Bonfire Night,” added Gary Willoughby of SYFR.

“We will continue to run our personal safety sessions to try to make sure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time.”

Cllr Gordon Watson Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council, said: “Bonfire Night is an exciting time; it’s an opportunity to meet up with friends and light up the dark nights with bonfires and fireworks. But it’s really important that this is done safely and I am pleased that children in Rotherham are receiving the right advice and information from those who know just how severe the effects of misusing fireworks can be.

“There are a number of organised events taking place across the borough, and I would encourage residents to go along to one of these, not only to reduce the risk of lighting fireworks and controlling a bonfire themselves, but also as an opportunity to get involved with the local community.”

Operation Dark Nights is a South Yorkshire Police campaign providing important safety advice and reassurance to the public over the next four weeks.