A campaign is being launched today (Friday 25 October) to keep people safe and reduce demand on our emergency services across South Yorkshire, during the Halloween and bonfire period
South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and Yorkshire Ambulance Service run operation Dark Nights jointly each year.
The campaign has already seen police and fire officers visiting schools over the past few weeks to educate children on staying safe, and during and over the holiday and bonfire period, will see officers patrolling hot spot areas.
Both services are asking people across the county to be 999 wise – especially on bonfire night – to help keep their resources free for genuine emergencies.
For the police, this means only calling 999 if you are experiencing an emergency or someone’s life is in danger and using alternative ways to report non-emergency crime.
Superintendent Sarah Poolman said: “Your neighbourhood teams will be out and about in the evenings throughout this period, working hard to make sure that everyone can have an enjoyable and safe time.
However, this is an extremely busy time for officers and our call takers in the control room and we are therefore asking our communities to help us ensure we are able to respond to the people who need us the most by thinking before you call 999 or 101.
“Our call takers have to prioritise the calls coming into our control room. So if you are wanting to report a non-emergency crime, please make use of online reporting on our website- https://www.southyorks.police.uk/contact-us/report-something/.”
Whereas fire officers are asking people to ring the service’s control room to tell them about planned bonfires – to avoid unnecessary calls during the bonfire period.
The fire service is also urging people to attend organised fireworks displays, which they say are safer and more spectacular, rather than having their own.
“Each year we get a small spike in incidents on, and around, bonfire night. We want to make South Yorkshire safer and stronger, so this is clearly something we’re keen to tackle,” said Station Manager Steve Jones, who works within the joint fire and police community safety department.
“We know, from last year’s incident analysis, how this spike happened, and have identified three things the public can do to help us reduce incidents and keep people safe.
“Firstly, make sure your bins are in and there’s no loose rubbish on your street that could be set alight. Secondly, if you are having a bonfire, make sure you stay with it and keep it in hand.
“Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, by letting our control room staff know you’re having a bonfire you can potentially reduce the amount of times we get called out to garden bonfires.
“The people that call these in are well meaning callers, and we’d always encourage people to call 999 if they discover a fire or need our help, but if we know you’re having a bonfire we will know not to send firefighters to spoil your party.”