SHOCKING footage of firefighters being attacked with bricks and fireworks has been released in a bid to cut down on such incidents.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is launching a campaign, More than a Uniform, after seeing a spike in violent incidents towards crews in the last year.
The latest attack was on Sunday evening when crews were attending a fire in the open in Bradford and fireworks were thrown at them.
One firefighter was hit by a firework in the stomach and despite not receiving serious injury he has had to take time off work.
Fire authority chairman Clr Judith Hughes, also a Labour councillor for Almondbury, said: “We cannot understand why anyone would want to attack our crews who deliver an invaluable public service day in and day out.
“Bonfire Night is the busiest time of the year for the Fire Service and crews do not need the extra pressure of looking over their shoulders in case a brick or firework is being hurled at them.
“We support the recent bill to Parliament to strengthen legislation in order to deliver tougher penalties for attacks on emergency service personnel and we hope this will act as a deterrent to reckless individuals.”
Figures show there were 95 violent events in West Yorkshire in 2016/17 – up 30 on the previous year.
Firefighters have sustained bruising, head injuries and hearing problems as a result of attacks against them.
The campaign, called More than a Uniform, features staff with their families to show that yobs are not harming a uniform, they’re harming someone’s loved one.
The brigade says such attacks peak at this time of year, in total 33 of the attacks happened in the month of November 2016 and 20 were on Bonfire Night itself.
At the latest incident in Bradford an 18-year-old was arrested and it’s led to the fire service reviewing its attendance of incidents in this area, with it saying it will prioritise where there is a risk to life.
Deputy chief fire officer Dave Walton said: “Attacks on our operational staff are now at their highest in five years.
“The rise in attacks on our crews is gravely concerning to us and as we approach the bonfire period, when we tend to see a flurry, we are delivering a clear message that it will not be tolerated.
“We believe our crews are sometimes targeted as they are seen as a ‘uniformed authority figure’ so our campaign aims to open people’s eyes to the fact that if you attack a firefighter, you may be attacking a mum or dad, a wife or husband, or brother or sister.
“Already this year we have seen a handful of attacks on crews using fireworks and it is only a matter of time before an operational firefighter is seriously injured.”
Fire engines are fitted with cameras to gather evidence of attacks.