By ANISAH ARIF
It’s that time of year again, where people will gather to watch local bonfire displays in the night sky to remember the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
While some will spend this day making memories with their loved ones, others stay indoors with the fear of leaving their homes vulnerable to criminals and burglars.
But when did the one of the most exciting nights of the year always end in bins being set on fire and fireworks thrown on busy roads?
On November 5 last year, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews attended a total of 278 incidents in a 24-hour period. This included 91 deliberate nuisance fires – including grass fires, rubbish left in the street or on wasteland and bin fires. In twenty instances bonfires had to be extinguished.
However, in a further 62 cases the Fire Service was called to bonfires which were under control and did not need extinguishing.
It can be said, the enjoyment of bonfire night has slowly faded away with the rise in crime in West Yorkshire during this festive day. People are urged to attend organised bonfires with trained personnel to ease the pressure on fire fighters.
Mohammed Ali, prevention manager Bradford district told Asian Sunday: “This is one of the busiest times of the year. We have no tolerance for anti-social behaviour against fire and emergency services. This year we have engaged with the community a lot more by local crews visiting schools and faith institutions to talk about the dangers of fireworks. We have spoken to individuals to establish that community partnership and explain that behind the uniform, we are still people. We have families and children”.
Firefighters have been visiting schools across West Yorkshire to spread safety messages to youngsters with wristbands being issued to children bearing the slogan #WeAreBonfireSafe.
Sadly, the same people we rely on to help us in our time of need, are subjected to firework attacks and other dangerous objects. Has our community lost the enjoyment of bonfire night? Has the thrill of seeing a bonfire with our friends and family left our hearts?
Not for Mrs. Waheed. The mother of four told us: “People would rather go to watch an organised bonfire display than spend lots of money to have one in their back street. It’s an excuse to go outdoors and is more exciting for the kids. I think it is safer now than it was before. The amount of violence has decreased”.
Although safety precautions have been taken place by West Yorkshire Police and the Fire Service, community events are doing their part by hosting events in the evening to engage the young people.
Girlington Community Centre are hosting an event which will include activities such as, Henna, Face Painting, Bouncy Castle etc. This is to interact the youth and bring them together to create a better understanding of this night and how deviance behaviour can impact resources and valuable time.
There is also a display taken place today at Peel Park. The Bradford Fireworks Extravaganza at Peel Park will open at 17.00. There will be a large funfair, a children’s firework display at 18.30, followed by the main event at 20.30. Entry is £3.99 per person, and children under one metre in height go free.
If these displays will be crowded in the parks of West Yorkshire in the coming years, is to be known. But there is no doubt there will be someone somewhere trying to cause mischief on this night.
Have a safe and pleasant bonfire!