Scottish firework campaign uses child's life-changing story to warn public of danger

The trauma suffered by a young boy injured by fireworks is at the heart of a new multi-agency safety campaign in Scotland.

One of the main images being used in the Scottish firework safety campaign
One of the main images being used in the Scottish firework safety campaign

Ben McCabe was just four when he had to be rushed to hospital and was left with permanent scars after being injured by a firework that went off course in his back garden.

Now 13, he is fronting a multi-agency firework and fire safety campaign being led by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Ten organisations are involved in the #FireworkSafety campaign warning young people about the dangers of fireworks and bonfires and how to keep themselves safe.

The Scottish Government, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and NHS Scotland are among the bodies involved in the campaign.

It has been prompted by concerns over a surge in the private use of fireworks this year due to COVID-19 restrictions preventing organised public displays from taking place. 

Key messages are being kept as simple as possible, with the public being urged to "be safe, be kind and be smart around fireworks".

Ben appears in a short film in which he relates his experience and urges people of the importance of staying a safe distance from fireworks at all times.

“I want to tell my story because what happened to me shouldn’t happen to anyone else, and it’s to keep everyone else safe,” he says in the film.

The film is among campaign materials being promoted across the social media channels of the organisations involved in the campaign.

In addition, an avatar of Ben features in an interactive game and online quiz intended to help show schoolchildren the hazards of fireworks and bonfires. 

Lee-ann Howieson, senior comms officer at the Scottish SPCA, told PRWeek: “Fireworks and bonfire season puts an immense amount of pressure on the emergency services and other organisations every year. We took a collaborative approach to strengthen our message to keep the public, our frontline [staff] and the animals of Scotland safe.”

She added: “Ben and his family have been absolutely integral to the campaign. Being able to tell Ben’s life-changing story really shows the importance of knowing who to call and what to do in an emergency. Ben really is a superhero, and his avatar counterpart is educating young people across the country of the dangers of fireworks.”

Click here to subscribe to the FREE public sector bulletin to receive dedicated public sector news, features and comment straight to your inbox.

Make sure you register for the site to access more than one story per month.

To submit a news, comment, case study or analysis idea for the public sector bulletin, email

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in