Advice to the Community
Bonfire Night History
Very early in the morning of 5th November 1605, guards searching the basement of
the Houses of Parliament in London, discovered Guy Fawkes along with 36 barrels
of gunpowder. It soon became clear that Fawkes was part of a plot to assassinate
King James I of England and all the members of Parliament by blowing up parliament
during the opening ceremony later that day.
When Londoners heard of the failed attempt to kill their King they were encouraged
to celebrate by lighting bonfires but making sure that �this testemonye of joy be
careful done without any danger or disorder�. Over 400 years later guards still
ceremonially search the cellars under Parliament before every state opening and
we still celebrate this defeat of terrorism by lighting bonfires.
The bonfire period is fast approaching and work is well underway to ensure that
communities across Merseyside enjoy a safe and responsible November 5th.
It�s the busiest time of year for the Threat Response Group (TRG) and they have
a comprehensive plan to make sure bonfire night comes and goes without a bang.
School visits, firework seizures, diversionary activities for young people and
removing combustible materials off the streets are just some of the activities
currently being undertaken.
In the next month, over 150 schools in hotspot areas will be visited to warn
young people of the dangers of fireworks, anti-social behaviour and nuisance
Diversionary Activities (TRG)
A one day event which will occur within each district of Merseyside will take
place during the half term week October 24th � 28th. The event will be
facilitated by MF&RS and FSN Personnel and supported by local partner agencies
such as RSL�s, Police and Youth Services. The diversionary event will include
the following provisions:
- Climbing wall
- FSN Streetcage Soccer
- Ministry of
Dates and locations:
- 24th October � Wirral, Beechwood Recreation Centre
- 25th October � Liverpool, Millenium Centre
- 26th October � Sefton, Netherton
- 27th October � Knowsley, Huyton Leisure Centre
- 28th October � St
Helen�s, Four Acre
- 28th October � Open day at Wallasey Fire Station with
- 29th October - Croxteth Sports Centre
Another key part of the plan is to remove combustible waste such as fly-tipping,
general rubbish and bonfire materials off the streets to reduce the number of
anti-social behaviour incidents and nuisance fires. The Service is working
alongside local authorities and the Probation Service to target hotspot areas
from October 17th and residents can also call Fire Service Direct to ask for
bonfire material to be removed.
Staff from TRG have also been liaising with local business owners to remind them
of their responsibilities to help to keep their community safe and working with
Registered Social Landlords to encourage them to secure any void properties.
Every retailer in Merseyside that is licensed to sell fireworks will be visited
by the FIRST team to ensure they are being sold safely and responsibly. The team
have the power to revoke the retailers� license and last year 4 tonnes of
fireworks were seized.
The Trojan fire engine will also be out and about at key times during the
bonfire period, staffed by TRG, to reinforce a zero tolerance approach to
violence towards fire crews.
watch Manager Tony Harland of TRG, said: �This is our busiest time of year but
TRG carry out intervention work all year round to make sure the bonfire period
runs a lot more smoothly and can be enjoyed by our local communities.
�Whilst the Halloween and Bonfire period can be enjoyable for many, it can be a
distressing time of year for the most vulnerable so an all-year round effort
from TRG staff, from working to tackle anti social behaviour, schools education,
securing void properties and arson reduction, really makes a difference to our
One of the safest ways of joining in bonfire night celebrations is to attend one
of the many organised public displays around Merseyside. A list of the locations,
dates and approximate start times of these displays can be found by clicking the
MFRS list of
Large private/semi public displays and events
Many organisations such as scout groups, community centres and sports clubs choose
to host their own bonfire night celebrations. If you are intending to host such
an event you will find the information in HSE leaflet HSG 124 �Giving your own firework
display� invaluable. It provides guidance on how to organise and run a safe and
successful event, ensuring crowd safety, safe storage and use of fireworks and how
to comply with the various legal requirements.
HSG 124 Giving your own firework display
If you are using a professional firework company to provide your display you may
find the following guide useful
HSG 123 Working together on firework displays
For further advice and guidance and to inform us of the location, date and time
of your event please contact the operational planning department on 0151 296 4920
Small community bonfires
The large number of small bonfires which appear around Merseyside over this period
can cause significant problems for our community. Sometimes they are too large or
built too close to buildings or they can become a focus for anti social behaviour.
If Fire Engines have to attend these sort of fires it means they are not available
to attend more serious incidents.
Over the last few years Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, working in partnership
with local councils and other agencies, has dramatically reduced the number and
impact of small fires through our bonfire material removal programme. If you are
concerned about a bonfire being built near to you call Fire Service Direct on
731 5958 and tell us
- Where exactly the bonfire is?
- Are dangerous materials being put on the bonfire � Plastics, gas cylinders, Aerosols?
- How big it is?
- How far away it is from roads, buildings, fences, etc?
If the bonfire has been lit you should call us on 999 and report the fire.
We recognise that some people would still prefer to have their own local bonfire
rather than attend larger organised events. If you do decide to do this please be
aware that you have certain legal responsibilities and that Merseyside Fire and
Rescue Service will extinguish or remove any bonfire which we consider poses a risk
to life, property or the environment. Download our bonfire safety leaflet below.
Residents are also encouraged to report Propane and Butane cylinders which have
been discarded or fly tipped. Cylinders are commonly used for patio heaters, gas
BBQ�s and portable heaters. During the bonfire period there is an increased risk
that discarded cylinders may be thrown onto bonfires, which is extremely
dangerous to the both the public and our fire crews when trying to put out a
fire. Residents are encouraged to report discarded cylinders by reporting them
to the following companies who will collect them for free:
Total Gas - T: 0151 546 0605
Calor Gas - T: 01926 318 616
BOC - T: 0800 111 333
Useful Contact Numbers
- Bonfire Removal: 0800 731 5958
- Merseyside Police: 0151 709 6010
- Crime Stopper: 0800 555 111
Further information and advice
- Rospa website
- Direct gov website (contains
resources for teachers)
- Blue Cross animal welfare leaflet