A statement from the Club Doncaster safety team:
Following the activation of pyrotechnic devices at our recent matches and the subsequent comments on social media, the safety team would like to clarify the club’s approach to such incidents and also provide facts about the devices.
Pyrotechnic devices - or flares - burn at temperatures ranging from 700 to 2500 degrees Celsius - the top temperature being higher than the melting point of iron. They produce toxic combustion products such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which are hazardous to health. If such devices are confined, or modified, they can behave like high explosives.
Pyrotechnic devices are self-sustaining so will burn to completion. If they are placed in water or sand while still alight, they will continue to burn. They cannot be ‘put out’.
There is plenty of evidence that states that these devices can act similar to Roman candles and explode at intervals. Death and loss of limbs have occurred due to the use of pyrotechnics.
Due to the unpredictability of these devices, Doncaster Rovers safety staff take a three-stage approach when dealing with instances where they have been activated within the stadium. This is an approach recommended by The Football Association (FA) and the English Football League (EFL).
- Move away
Retreat to a minimum of five metres away from the device. Move players and match officials away. Stewards and emergency services should show that they recognise the dangers. Pause the fixture if the device is on the pitch.
- Leave the devices alone
Pyrotechnics are self-sustaining and cannot be extinguished. Any attempt to extinguish puts anyone close to it with associated health and safety risks. The devices are unpredictable – they may explode. Be seen to move away.
- Let them burn out
Stay away - let the pyrotechnic burn to completion and then deal with it. Once the device has burned to completion, a steward supervisor or chief steward should remove it. The device will still be hot and may be burning internally. Use suitable PPE (gloves and tongs) to place the spent case in a bucket of water.
Our approach forms part of the safety briefing given to the match officials before the game. If the match is paused, all time taken will be added at the end of the half.
Supporters are routinely searched for these items. Being in possession of a pyrotechnic device is a criminal offence - you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted, and you may receive a court ban preventing you from attending any football match.
You WILL receive a club ban.
The message is – pyrotechnics put people at risk and are not welcome in our stadium.
Every football fan should feel safe attending matches when watching their team