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Stay safely dressed this Halloween

MERSEYSIDE Fire and Rescue Service is urging families to think safe this Halloween and be alert to the fire risks from wearing Halloween costumes. Wearing a Halloween costume is great fun, but remember the outfit you have on could easily catch fire from naked flames you may be near such as:- candles, fires, lighters and matches.

This is especially important with fancy dress costumes as many are currently not manufactured to the same safety standards as normal clothing. This can cause them to ignite almost instantly and burn far faster.

A few safety tips:-

It is crucial therefore to make sure children wearing Halloween costumes are kept well away from naked flames and other sources of heat at all times.

If you are using Halloween pumpkins you should take extra care in lighting them and ensure that no loose clothing is near them at any time, particularly when they are being moved or carried.

If you are putting up Halloween decorations make sure they are placed well away from naked flames or heat sources.

Make sure that children are never left alone with candles and if using an open fire during Halloween festivities always use a fire guard.

If at all possible always make sure you use an LED battery operated tea light, which do not have a live flame, as opposed to normal tea lights and candles.

Michael Buratti, Arson Team Manager for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said:- "Merseyside Fire an d Rescue Service would like everyone to enjoy Halloween and Bonfire Night as safely as possible. We urge people to be careful of how they dress on Halloween; some costumes bought in shops can be flammable so labels should be checked to see how fire resistant the costumes are. Costumes should not be used to genuinely frighten people, particularly those who may be elderly and vulnerable. Keep clear of all flames such as candles and lit pumpkins, which could cause burns or costumes to catch fire. Ideally, use battery operated lights in pumpkins instead of candles. Never leave children alone with lit candles and make sure they are extinguished before leaving the room. If clothing does catch fire remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL; STOP where you are, do not run. DROP to the ground and lie down flat. ROLL over and over on the ground until the flames are out. Fireworks should be enjoyed at organised events as they provide safe, controlled displays in places that are suitable. We would encourage people to take advantage of organised events rather than risking the safety of themselves, their family and friends by using fireworks at home."

For fire safety advice for Halloween call Merseyside & Rescue Service on:- 0800 731 5958 over outside office hours, and leave a message with your details and a contact number:- 0800 731 5958 if out of office hours.

Victims of disability hate crime urge others to speak out...

PEOPLE who have been affected by bullying, abuse and hate because of a disability are being urged to seek support in a powerful new video released to mark:- 'National Hate Crime Awareness Week.' Victims of disability related hate crime and support workers have joined forces with Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy to produce the short film which encourages people to speak out and get help. The 4 minute video available on YouTube promotes the help, care and support offered by Daisy Inclusive UK who are working with the Commissioner to provide a dedicated support service for victims of disability hate crime across Merseyside as part of the Victim Care Merseyside service. It features testimony from 2 men who have been helped to rebuild their lives after being supported by Daisy Inclusive UK.

Will, who now volunteers for the charity after being supported by them, said:- "Before I got in touch with Daisy, I was in isolation for 7 years of my life. I didn't want to leave my bedroom, let alone my house. Before going to Daisy, all my confidence levels just stooped to an all time low… Coming to Daisy has made a massive difference to my life."

Leon, who has Asperger syndrome and turned to Daisy Inclusive UK after suffering abuse from his neighbour, added:- "I found out about the disability hate crime (service) at Daisy, when I asked if I could receive help with what I am going through at home, which is antisocial behaviour. The help I received was brilliant. I was expected to give evidence against what was going on, but Kate (my support worker) made them aware of my condition and how it can affect me. Thankfully it didn't come to that and we were able to settle outside of Court and thankfully it has all been dealt with since."

Jane, who has commissioned the dedicated disability hate crime support service for the next 3 years, said:- "National Hate Crime Awareness Week is an important opportunity to send out the message that hate crime will not be tolerated in Merseyside. Subjecting somebody to abuse and hatred simply because they have a disability is abhorrent and reprehensible. Those who do so deserve to be brought to justice and those who have suffered at their hands deserve the best possible care and support. I am proud to be working with Daisy Inclusive UK to deliver this service. I hope this short video will help to show victims of this despicable crime just how seriously we treat their experiences and encourage anyone who out there who is suffering to come forward. They should not be afraid or scared to speak out, Daisy Inclusive UK is a fantastic organisation which is here to help."

Daisy Inclusive UK's hate crime officer Kate Gore said:- "It makes a huge difference to victims, it's a very much needed service. Often victims of disability-related hate crime don't realise they are a victim of hate crime, they might not realise they are being targeted in their communities. If you are a target of disability hate crime, it may be that the following day you don't come out of your house, you may be too fearful, so it's really important that these crimes or incidents are reported to the Police and actions taken against those perpetrators. Daisy Inclusive UK is a really welcome place; we are 1 big family. Everybody has various disabilities but everyone supports each other and looks after each other. Everybody is welcome here at Daisy Inclusive UK."

Managing Director Dave Kelly said:- "After I lost my sight, 25 years ago, I was isolated for 3 years, stuck in the house. I'd lost all hope. I had a bit of a dream and my dream was Daisy. I was appalled when I realised how many disabled people were victims of disability hate crime or incidents."

Daisy Inclusive UK can offer support over the phone, at an individual's home or at their centre at 2 Barnes Street in Everton. You can reach them on:- (0151) 261 0309. If you, or someone you know has been affected by hate crime, report it to Mersey Police via their social media desk @MerPolCC or by calling:- 101. If you don't wish to speak to the Police, you can also report it to national charity Stop Hate UK on:- 0800 138 1625. A shortened film has also been produced for social media, which be viewed on the PCC's Facebook Page.

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