WEARSIDERS are being urged to play their part in making sure Bonfire Night does not end in a bang.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has launched its annual Bonfire Night safety campaign.
Inspirational teenager Connor Rowntree, 17, of Newbottle, was the face of the November 5 campaign in 2010.
He suffered 90 per cent burns after an aerosol prank went wrong.
Connor spent eight months in hospital recovering from his injuries and made it his mission to spread the word about the dangers of fire.
Fronting the campaign this year is India Redhead.
The eight-year-old almost lost her sight when she attended a Bonfire Night party at a neighbour’s house last year and a firework hit her in the left eye.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service area manager, John Pratt, said: “We want everyone to enjoy Bonfire Night, however, as India’s story shows, bonfires and fireworks can cause devastating injuries.
“The run up to Bonfire Night is one of the busiest times for the emergency services.
“We would encourage everyone to attend professionally-organised displays and to report any illegal bonfires that have been built to the council.”
In the weeks running up to Bonfire Night, firefighters will be visiting secondary schools across Wearside to educate youngsters about the dangers of bonfires and fireworks.
They will also be highlighting the consequences of antisocial behaviour against emergency workers.
The fire service will work closely with police to tackle antisocial behaviour around the misuse of fireworks and bonfires.
Assistant Chief Constable Greg Vant said: “We want people to have a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night.
“This means we’re advising people to go to an organised display, rather than having their own bonfire.
“We’re working closely with our colleagues in the fire and rescue service to get this message across, and police will also be stepping up patrols across the Northumbria Police area to tackle antisocial behaviour, linked to fireworks misuse.
“We’ll also be reporting any unauthorised bonfires we see while on patrol so they can be removed by the local authority.”
The fire and rescue service is also working with local councils and other partners to make sure that as many illegal bonfires as possible are removed before they are lit, preventing hundreds of fires from starting and endangering life.
Fire crews will also be conducting a series of inspections of outlets to ensure the safe storage of fireworks over the period.
Mr Vant said: “Anyone who has concerns about disorder or anti-social behaviour should contact their local neighbourhood policing team on 101 ext 69191.”
To find an organised bonfire and firework display near you, visit www.twfire.gov.uk/bonfire.