Fireworks can ‘induce panic’ in vulnerable people and animals

Members of Mid Ulster District Council have backed a notice of motion calling for controls on fireworks to protect vulnerable people and animals.

Magherafelt DUP Councillor Wesley Brown’s motion was passed at the monthly meeting of the council last Thursday night with two abstentions.

He told councillors that by implementing the simple steps set out in his motion, they could “help reduce the stress caused to vulnerable people, their carers and to our animals and their owners.”

The council gave its support to the following steps: To require all public firework displays within the local authority boundaries to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people

To actively promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people – including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks

To write to the UK Government urging them to introduce legislation to limit the maximum noise level of fireworks to 90dB for those sold to the public for private displays, and to encourage local suppliers of fireworks to stock ‘quieter’ fireworks for future displays.

Mr Brown said noise from fireworks may induce panic in autistic children and adults, leading them to leave their home, get lost, or even suffer a serious accident. “This may lead them to miss out on social opportunities at festivals that involve loud fireworks,” he said.

He added that thousands of pets suffer as a result of fireworks being let off. “Animal hospitals and vets across the country see a marked rise in pets requiring medication during such stressful times, and many pets are brought into re-homing centres.”

Commenting on the motion, a representative for FACTS, which was set up in 2017 to support parents, explained many families that have children on the autism spectrum find their children have noise sensitivities and fireworks tend to scare them.

“Families of children with noise sensitivity tend to avoid celebrations were there is fireworks,” the spokesperson stressed.