10 Tips to prevent the surge of home fires on 5 November

As lockdown restrictions prevent community events, Aviva is urging caution for households who plan to celebrate Bonfire Night at home.

Households warned of dangers of celebrating Bonfire Night at home

Aviva recently reported that claims tend to double around 5 November.

With the latest national lockdown announced for a month on the weekend, cancelled professional firework displays and bonfire celebrations may force people to try and celebrate at home this year – posing and increased risk.

According to Aviva data, fire claims almost doubled last year (increasing by 88%) between 5-7 November, compared to the rest of the month with claims for damage to fences, sheds, and garages caused by bonfires that got out of hand. Fireworks burned through trampolines, artificial grass, and even the inside of homes when they crashed through windows or were maliciously put through letterboxes.

Aviva’s top tips for staying safe on Bonfire Night:

  • Make sure your fireworks carry the CE mark if you plan to have a display at home
  • Be careful where you aim fireworks, particularly those which shoot into the air, like rockets. Make sure they’re directed away from people, trees and buildings, and never throw them.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed tin and never carry them in pockets.
  • Don’t leave your bonfire unattended. Fires can get out of control in seconds, so make sure someone is watching over your blaze at all times and go easy with accelerants.
  • Be careful what you burn. You should only burn dry materials such as wood and dry leaves. Bonfires should never be used to get rid of household waste such as plastic packaging and you shouldn’t burn aerosols, tyres, painted or treated wood, or anything containing paint or foam.
  • Watch the weather. Windy conditions can spread fires quickly over a large area. Flames and embers can stray into neighbouring properties and our data shows fires can often start at a different address.
  • Take care when disposing of cinders and matches. Ashes can stay hot for hours after a fire appears to have gone out.
  • Think of others. While it’s not illegal to have a bonfire, neighbours can report you if they feel your bonfire is causing a nuisance. Be considerate about the time of your event too and keep the noise down. You could also face a fine if smoke blows across a road and hinders visibility.
  • Check your stack for wildlife. Before you set light to your bonfire, make sure there are no inhabitants, such as hedgehogs or nesting birds. A pile of sticks and leaves can make a cosy home for wildlife.
  • Be prepared. Keep a bucket of water or sand to hand, just in case.