FSM Continued from page 19

new Chairman’s Charter amid increasing concerns about the proliferation of pyrotechnics in stadia. With the help of other supporters and the police the objective is to impose a minimum 3 year football banning order to anyone found guilty of possessing or discharging pyrotechnics within or around stadia. These banning orders are already implemented in the Premier League whereby even jail sentences have now been handed out to some of those guilty of possessing pyro’s. The support network and processing of

convictions are now evident amongst the football league clubs but Stadium Managers and Security Officers still need to consider the safety management implications as some supporters remain undeterred. Below we explore some general issues as well as the confiscation and safe handling of such devices. •

If a flare is out of date (beyond its 3 year life span) it can become unstable and react in a different way to that intended thereby causing potential injury to the person discharging it and others around.

• Extinguishing a flare is extremely difficult as often the flare contains burning metals. Any burns caused by a flare are likely to be severe.

• Smoke bombs generate what is referred to as “cold smoke” but the chemical reaction which creates the smoke generates sufficient heat to cause burns to people attempting to move them.

• Dependent on the location, the smoke can set off automatic fire detection systems.

There are a number of different types of pyrotechnic devices available and each can


sand and the device can be moved in the bucket away from spectators and/ or players. Once the device has finished emitting smoke it should be placed in a metal bucket of water for at least half an hour. A welder’s glove or similar should be used to pick up a smoke bomb that is discharging, or has discharged, smoke. Any articles that do not have an

evident handle should be handled with appropriate gloves or tongs as they will also remain hot for some considerable time (30 minutes plus). When handling

present their own problems when discharged amongst a crowd of people. Flares used are typically of the hand-held type having an integral handle. Once such flares have been set off, they cannot be easily extinguished and will typically burn for between 30 to 60 seconds, following which it will no longer discharge any light or smoke. However, it will still be too hot to handle for quite some time after and may still present an ignition source for any combustible materials around. Provided there is no immediate threat of escalation or injury, it is safer to allow the flare to burn out before any action is taken. If a burning flare is dropped on the floor, clear the area and cover the flare with sand. The flare may continue to burn through the sand and therefore further sand may need to be poured on top to minimise the effect of the flare. Once light ceases, use a welder’s glove or similar to remove the remains by the handle and place in a metal bucket of water for at least half an hour. One effective method of minimising the

effects of a smoke bomb is to place it in a metal bucket half filled with sand and then pour a further half a bucket of sand on top. Very little smoke will filter through the

spent pyrotechnics, the top should always be pointed to the ground and away from people. Those handling them should wear appropriate eye protection. Where unused devices have been confiscated at a sports ground, and until they are disposed of, ground management are responsible for their safe storage. It is advisable to contact the Local Authority to establish their requirements for the registration of storage facilities for explosives and have written protocols with local police as to how seized pyrotechnic devices can be secured as evidence (if appropriate) and safely disposed of.

Elimination of risk

Ground management should ensure that it has policies and plans in place to prevent pyrotechnic devices from being brought into the ground. The plans should include gathering of intelligence, detection of devices and searching of spectators and potentially the use of sniffer dogs as an added deterrent but for further advice regarding the handling of pyrotechnics please search for the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) guide to safety at sports grounds.



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