In the aftermath of last night’s bonfire night celebrations and ahead of more bonfire celebrations across the county this evening (6 November), Chief Fire Officer Justin Johnston has issued the below statement in response to several incidents where emergency services were lured into parts of the county with hoax calls before being attacked with fireworks, rocks and stones and verbal abuse.
“The bonfire night period is an extremely busy time for us all in Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service in both terms of the prevention and protection work we carry out and emergency response. Together with our partners we work hard to ensure we are as best prepared as we can be to keep our communities safe and provide the best service possible for those people that need our help during this time.
Last night as a service we responded to around 140 incidents overall with 53 of those incidents attended by our multi-agency incident assessment team (MAIAT) vehicle, which was used to great effect where a full fire crew response wasn’t needed. This enabled us to keep more fire engines available for responding to other incidents.
I am incredibly proud of the work our staff have done both behind the scenes and on the front line so far, and for the most part, people enjoyed their celebrations responsibly. But it is incredibly saddening and maddening to see that there were a number of instances where our staff and other emergency services were lured into areas for what appears to be no other reason than mal intent.
Thankfully, there were no serious injuries, but the fact remains that no one goes to work expecting to be attacked, whether verbally or physically and nor should they. When emergency services are there to help people, this mindless behaviour is incomprehensible and completely unacceptable. Hoax calls at any time of year are reckless and potentially put lives at risk by tying up emergency resources, and we will work with partners to find those found responsible.
Our staff will tonight again, be ready to respond to emergencies and keep the people of Lancashire safe. I sincerely hope they can do so without seeing repeated scenes like those of last night.