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Reduction in fireworks-related ambulance callouts over Bonfire night period – South Wales Argus

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THE number of ambulance callouts relating to fireworks in 2018 was at its lowest number in the last five years.

The Welsh Ambulance Service responded to 49 fireworks-related callouts between November 1 and November 10, according to a freedom of information act request.

This number has fallen over the last five years, from 96 in 2014, to 68 in 2015.

In 2016 and 2017, the number of callouts stayed at a similar level, 66 and 62 respectively.

The highest category of callout was ‘burns covering less than 18 per cent of the victim’s body area’, which resulted in 16 per cent of callouts in 2018 – double the number from 2017.

Despite a fall in the number of firework-related callouts, more than 294,114 people, including 4,515 in Gwent, signed a petition calling for the sale of fireworks to the public to be banned.

The petition was debated in parliament twice in 2018 alone, on November 26 and January 29, after a previous petition gathered 113,285 signatures.

However, on both occasions, the Government decided not to take any action.

In the November debate, Newport East MP Jessica Morden called for a review of the existing fireworks regulations on behalf of the 905 Newport East constituents who signed the petition.

She said: “Newport East had the seventh highest number of petitioners of any constituency in the UK and the highest number in Wales, and I would very much like to give voice to their concerns today.

“The firework season was once a few days but now seems to run on a prolonged loop from October all the way to January.

“In addition, fireworks are bigger, louder and more powerful and sold not just in supermarkets but in the endless pop-up shops that appear and disappear on our high streets at the drop of a hat.

“People can get big and very powerful fireworks from overseas on the internet. The scale of what happens and the availability of fireworks are very different now.

“I think it is true to say that the firework season has become an excuse for a destructive minority to cause misery for the public at large.

“Progress has been made since the Fireworks Regulations 2004, which restricted sales, but further action is needed. Finally, I hope the Government will reflect on the contributions to this debate and consider undertaking a review of firework displays.”

Despite a reduction in the number of Welsh Ambulance Service callouts, RSPCA Cymru received 34 fireworks-related reports this year, up to November 11.

The data shows an increase in calls compared to 2017 – when 24 calls were received for the entirety of the year – and RSPCA officers were bracing themselves for more calls ahead of the festive season.

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