A health and social care organisation has teamed up with the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to ask the public to spare a thought for those who may be vulnerable or distressed this bonfire night.
The appeal from Outlook Care, a not-for-profit health and social care provider based in London and Essex, comes ahead of this weekend’s celebrations, in which many areas across the UK will see large fireworks and fire displays take place that can be frightening for the elderly or those with special needs.
“The fifth of November is a wonderful night of spectacle and fun for many across the country, but for some, it can be a distressing occasion,” said Anne Cooper, Director of Operations at Outlook Care.
“The loud bangs and flashing lights caused by fireworks and the flames from large bonfires can instil panic and confusion for elderly individuals or those who have a condition such as autism or dementia, who may not be able to fully understand or comprehend what is happening around them.”
Anne asks that people check in with vulnerable people to make sure that people are prepared and have all the necessary tools and information to remain secure during such events:
“We do not want to put individuals and communities off hosting gatherings or displays, we just ask that they take provisions and measures to ensure that those with special needs or requirements are as comfortable as possible. Little things such as knocking on neighbours’ doors to inform them of a bonfire or fireworks display happening nearby, or providing earplugs or protection so that those who may require them can safeguard against loud noises, can go a long way to guaranteeing that everyone has a safe and pleasant bonfire night.”
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service reiterated Outlook Care’s appeal, with Mark Eaglestone, Assistant Divisional Officer of the Service, saying:
“Our best advice is for everyone to attend a properly organised firework display. But if people wish to have their own display it is important that they take all the necessary precautions including buying the right fireworks and ensuring that neighbours that may be unaware, including the elderly and vulnerable, know that a display is taking place.
“Fireworks should be stored in a safe place, preferably a locked cabinet or display case, and should also be kept well away from other flammables. For more fireworks safety advice, go to: www.essex-fire.gov.uk .”