Wise up and stay safe in Falkirk

Pic Michael Gillen. 05/11/08. Stenhousemuir. Operation Alamo. Police response to unofficial bonfires.
Pic Michael Gillen. 05/11/08. Stenhousemuir. Operation Alamo. Police response to unofficial bonfires.
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Thoughtless idiots tossed fireworks from the window of a flat - startling several motorists as they drove along the road below.

That potentially lethal incident, which happened in Craigleith Road, Grangemouth, just after 5.30 p.m. on Sunday, was just one example of the careless - and downright stupid - attitude people still have when it comes to discharging fireworks and lighting bonfires as November 5 approaches.

For the fourth year running, Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service, Central Scotland Police and Falkirk Council have teamed up under the banner of Operation Alamo - a major safety initiative which aims to cut down the anti-social behaviour offences associated with fireworks.

The operation, which started last Friday and runs until Sunday, has also seen emergency services personnel called out just after 9 p.m. on Sunday to deal with a bonfire which had been set by a group of youths - aged 19 to 21 - on the football pitches of Nethermains Primary School, damaging goalposts.

Fire and Rescue Service community safety manager Gordon Pryde said: “Fireworks can be very dangerous when not used correctly. We would encourage members of the public to attend organised displays to cut down these dangers and ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable evening.”

Falkirk’s official firework display takes place in Callendar Park on Saturday, from 6.30 p.m., but it is the “unofficial” bonfire parties which are causing residents, local authorities and, of course, the emergency services, concern.

Councillor Charles MacDonald, Falkirk Council community safety convener, said: “Fire crews have been dealing with a few incidents to date. However, we are pleased to see there have been no serious ones.”

At the launch of Operation Alamo Chief Superintendent David Flynn, head of communities policing, said: “We know incidents involving anti-social behaviour increase on the approach to Bonfire Night and this impacts on the public as well as our colleagues in the fire and rescue service and the local authorities.

“Those who choose to behave in an irresponsible or dangerous manner with fireworks or bonfires not only put themselves at risk but anyone in the vicinity. This will not be tolerated.

“Anybody behaving in an anti-social manner - either towards firefighters who are putting out bonfires or council staff who are dismantling them - will be dealt with firmly.

“It is not acceptable for people to be verbally or physically abused as they carry out responsibilities which keep our communities safe.”

This week Falkirk Council, fire and police officials have been carrying out joint visits to retailers to ensure fireworks are being stored safely and are being sold legally and responsibly.

Education programmes aimed at youngsters have also been used to highlight the dangers associated with fireworks.

Anyone who has information of any incidents involving fireworks or illegal bonfires should contact police on (01786) 456000.