We hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween and Bonfire Night but make sure you take care and precaution to avoid the evening being spoilt.
The crash and bang of fireworks and the cover of darkness gives opportunist burglars their best opportunity to target your home. Bonfire night sees a 22% increase in thefts of the home compared with a typical day. Data from Aviva claims analysis also shows:
- Halloween is the worst day of the year for vandalism with claims for malicious damage to homes soaring by 160% - and Bonfire Night is the second worst.
- Fire claims are 60% higher on Bonfire Night, and a typical house fire can cause about £12,800 of damage.
- Car crime increases, with a 20% rise in motor thefts on both Halloween and Bonfire Night.
- And car accidents rise on average by 20% in the week when the clocks go back.
- And electronic items are the most likely to be stolen, with laptops, smart phones and tablets top of the thieves wish list.
Even those of us planning fireworks parties in our own back garden can’t be too sure. Leaving doors and gates unlocked so friends and family can come and go as they please could be an invitation to burglars.
We’re advising customers to make sure they take care when setting off bangers and rockets. Fences and conservatories, in particular, can easily get hit by stray fireworks. So read the instructions, and have a great night.
If you are having a bonfire, whether it’s to get rid of garden waste or part of a celebration, take care. Follow the simple tips below to make sure you, and others, are safe.
Building a bonfire
Fire can spread easily, so where and how you build your bonfire is important. If you have a bonfire, follow these simple guidelines:
• warn your neighbours beforehand - they are much less likely to complain
• light the bonfire at a time least likely to affect your neighbours - eg not on a warm day when people will be in their garden
• only burn dry material not damp, which causes more smoke
• build the bonfire away from sheds, fences and trees
• check there are no cables - like telephone wires - above the bonfire
• don’t use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going – it may get out of control quickly
• as a rule of thumb the bonfire should be a minimum of five times its height from property
Bonfire safety tips
Once the bonfire is lit, make sure you:
• keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby - in case of emergencies
• don’t leave the bonfire unattended
• keep children and pets away from the bonfire
• don’t throw any fireworks into the fire
• don't burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint - many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode, causing injury
Once the bonfire has died down, spray the embers with water to stop it reigniting
Top 10 tips to beat the burglars on Bonfire Night
1. Give the impression that someone is home by leaving the radio on a talk-back station and a few lights on.
2. Use a timer switch to ensure your lights will come on as it goes dark and use eco-bulbs to save money on bills.
3. Avoid telling strangers who know your address, such as delivery men or salespeople, that your house is likely to be empty at any particular time.
4. Don’t leave any valuables in your car. If belongings are too big to carry, make sure to conceal them well, take them with you or leave them at home, safely out of sight.
5. If you’re holding a party at home, avoid leaving a sign on your front door telling guests to meet you in the garden or ‘come in around the back’.
6. Make sure all front doors and windows are locked.
7. Try not to have the music too loud if you’re having a party – burglars might think that makes your house an easy target.
8. Put the car or bikes in the garage or out of the way for the night and don’t leave your keys in an obvious place.
9. Use all the locks and bolts on your doors – they’re there for a reason!
10. Don’t put spare keys in obvious places like under the doormat or a flower pot.