The victim of a drunken dare has spoken out to warn other young people not to fool around this Bonfire Night and to pay attention to the Fire Service’s ‘Operation Good Guy’ campaign.
19-year-old Matt Condliffe from Hanford in Staffordshire suffered 42% burns last November after running through a bonfire, at an organised display, following a dare by his friends.
Matt was in a coma for 17 days and one year on he is still requiring surgery for his injuries and was back at hospital earlier this week for a consultation appointment. He was attended to at the scene last year by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and West Midlands Ambulance Service and hopes that by speaking out he can discourage others from hurting themselves:
“I really regret doing what I did,” said Matthew, “It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done and I’ll pay for that reckless decision every day for the rest of my life.
“It was a dare that went horribly wrong, no one really thought about what would happen if I ran through the bonfire, so when my friends suggested it as a laugh I thought ‘why not.’
“I’d urge people to take Bonfire Night safety seriously – listen to the safety messages the fire service promote, they could just save your life. I probably wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the actions and care I received from the emergency services and I want to warn everyone about the dangers on Bonfire Night so no one makes the same mistakes I did.”
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Risk Reduction Manager, David Steele said:
“Matt realises what he did was stupid, but credit to him that he‘s speaking out about this. Hopefully this along with the work we’ve been doing with young people as part of our Operation Good Guy campaign will ensure we don’t have any similar incidents this year.”
The ‘Operation Good Guy,’ campaign involves a hard hitting demonstration, delivered to high school pupils, that explicitly highlights the dangers of fireworks.
Graphic posters and flyers showing the injuries that fireworks can cause, with the headlines ‘Don’t Be a Josh’ and ‘Don’t Let Your Dreams Go up in Smoke,’ have also been circulated to schools, to warn young people of the dangers. An ad van with the ‘Don’t Let Your Dreams Go up in Smoke,’ message has also been travelling around the County in the run up to Bonfire Night to get the message across. For more information about the firework code and organising displays visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk
Watching fireworks is popular and fun. But fireworks are explosives and potentially dangerous, so they need careful handling and storage.
The Firework Code
- Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114.
- Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
- Keep fireworks in a closed box.
- Follow the instructions on each firework.
- Light them at arms length, using a taper.
- Stand well back.
- Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode.
- Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
- Always supervise children around fireworks.
- Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
- Never give sparklers to a child under five.
- Keep pets indoors.
- Don’t set off noisy fireworks late at night and never after 11pm.