Sefton Council looking to employ safety officer after the 2014 musical firework disaster


Photo: This blanket was luckily over a child’s head as he was cold otherwise this burn would have been on his face.

Sefton Council are now looking to employ a firework safety officer following last years event when crowds were peppered with burning embers and the sand dune fire.

A Sefton Council spokesperson declined to comment when asked about why the Council failed to have a team in place in previous years

Last year (Saturday 5th October) ‘hot debris’ caused a large fire in the sand dunes close to the Eco centre,  Victoria Park and the Caravan Park a large devastating dunes fire was caused by the Sefton Council Musical Fireworks event. Fortunately, the swift actions by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service prevented the dunes inferno from spreading further afield.

Thankfully, this time, no one was injured however this is the latest safety incident that raises a question over the competence of Sefton to organise and deliver safe events. Children in the crowd escaped injuries but many reported burnt clothes.

A spectator at the event quoted:

“It was terrible, I had to run for my car with two children trying to escape the falling hot debris.”

The overriding question is how safe our Sefton events and who was responsible for the safe operation and co-ordination of these events?

Events across the UK are generally well co-ordinated but with Council events staff cut and reduced event safety is frequently the casualty with councils prepared to ‘chance it’ or ‘turn a blind eye’. Event safety is complex and requires an understanding of crowd dynamics, temporary structures, pyrotechnical safety, special effects, traffic management to name but a few areas. Typically over stretched council officers do not have the experience nor qualifications to manage, control or indeed understand these risks. Sefton deliver very few events compared to other councils therefore their internal event experience is shallow delivering the same monotonous event programme.

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