People urged to stay safe this Halloween

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Galway City Council, Galway County Council, An Garda Síochána and Galway Fire & Rescue Services have come together to urge people in the county to stay safe this Halloween.

A public awareness campaign about Halloween celebrations was announced yesterday following a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee.

Politicians, staff, gardaí and community representatives at the meeting all noted the importance of safety in the next couple of weeks.

Each year, there are safety concerns associated with Halloween including bonfires, fireworks, and safety concerns for older residents and animals.

Galway Fire & Rescue Services urged the public to consider some of the dangers on what is one of the busiest nights of the year for emergency services.

They reminded people that fireworks and bonfires are a safety hazard and ‘an unnecessary burden’ on emergency services.

As well as being dangerous, fireworks and bonfires, in particular, can cause damage to the environment.

Galway City Council Environment Department said that households or individuals who hand over waste for bonfires can be liable for prosecution.

The disposal of waste by uncontrolled burning is an offence under both the Air Pollution Act 1987 and the Waste Management Act 1996, as amended.

Bonfires can also cause long lasting damage to local green areas.

Animals may also be at risk at this time of year – many can become so terrified from the noise of fireworks that they are driven to extreme behaviour.

It is advised to take pets to a quiet room, and to close windows and curtains. It’s also important to have pet identification such as an ID tag on your pet’s collar and a micro-chip in the event of pets escaping.

The council reminded people who witness an animal being subjected to cruel treatment to notify your local Gardaí and contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515.

They also reminded people who are out “trick-or-treating” with children  to be safe and stay visible at all times.

“There are many ways to enjoy the festivities, without putting your own safety and the safety of others at risk. Enjoy the celebrations and stay safe!”