Courtesy crucial over Guy Fawkes

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Locals taking part in Guy Fawkes celebrations are being asked to put safety first and be considerate to neighbours and animals.

Waitaki District Council rural fire officer Steve Couper said they are encouraging people to think carefully about where they light their fireworks.

“I know we don’t have sky rockets but some of them still go up a reasonable distance,” he said.

Mr Couper said it was wise to have adult supervision when letting fireworks off.

“It’s a safety thing,” he said.

“The other thing to do is to get a bucket of water.”

He said embers can still cause issues after the fireworks have been lit, so it was wise to place the used fireworks in the bucket of water.

Mr Couper said if a problem does arise, to call the local fire service by dialling 111.

Reading safety instructions on the packaging was also important, he said.

“If it says stand back three metres, then stand back,” said Mr Couper.

“Don’t hold on to them in your hands.

“We don’t want injuries.”

Mr Couper added that open spaces were ideal for lighting fireworks and to make sure they were lit well away from hedges and trees.

“They can be dangerous,” he said.

“If they are treated correctly, everything should go fine.”

SPCA executive officer for Otago Sophie McSkimming recommended pet owners kept their animals inside tonight, if possible.

“You’ve got to be aware that it can really upset them,” she said.

“It’s the loud bangs that really upset them.”

She said it was important for people to be considerate to their neighbours and communicate when they would be lighting their fireworks.

“Personally I would like to see fireworks held in just public places,” she said.

She said people are aware that household pets can become frightened during Guy Fawkes, but livestock can also cause damage to themselves when spooked.

“There’s not many people out there that don’t own a pet,” she said.

By Jessie Waite