Police issue safety advice for visitors to Ottery Tar Barrels

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By PGStrange | Thursday, November 01, 2012, 13:33

POLICE HAVE issued safety advice for those attending the Ottery Tar Barrels event, due to take place on Monday 5 November. The annual spectacle – in which flaming tar barrels are carried through the streets of Ottery St Mary – is likely to attract thousands of visitors. This year the force says it will be using Twitter to give regular updates to those attending…

The Tar Barrels Committee is reminding visitors to be mindful of their own safety and follow the advice given by marshals on the night.

In addition, the police say they are working closely with other agencies, including fire and ambulance services, to monitor the event.

In the event of a safety issue, police will also be using Twitter to update visitors who have access via their mobile phones. To follow regular updates on Twitter, please follow @DC_Police or alternatively search for hash tag #tarbarrels on Twitter.

Barrel history

Each year around 15,000 people are attracted to Ottery St Mary to watch the flaming barrels being carried through the streets. Believed to be a 17th-century tradition to rid the streets of evil spirits, it's revived every year as men, women and children run through the town, carrying blazing tar barrels. In addition there are processions, "squibbing", a large bonfire and a firework display. The celebrations start early in the day. The flaming tar bar rolling normally begins at about 4pm (childen), followed by women and then men from about 9pm.

The Committee wants visitors to enjoy the event without putting themselves or others at significant risk.

As ever the advice is to listen to organisers and police.

 • Do not bring young children to the event – the town will be extremely busy.

• Do not try and touch the barrels

• If you do not wish to feel the heat of the barrels please move to a less congested area away from the main event.

• Visitors will only be allowed to park in designated car parks and the town will be closed off to all vehicles a few hours before the start of the event.

Supt Glen Mayhew said: "This event has been going for many years and continues to grow in popularity. The appeal is the unique style of the event, but this and the number of people attended poses a challenge for event organisers. People attending need to check the official website to ensure the safety advice is followed. Please leave plenty of time for travelling, use the designated car parks and during the event please follow all the advice from organisers to ensure you and those around you have a good time and remain safe."

The organisers will have a public address system on the night in addition to the use of Twitter.

For more information, visit the official Ottery Tar Barrels site.

And don't forget there are plenty of fireworks events around Exmouth this year. See Remember, Remember... Bonfire Night around Exmouth

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