Staying safe and secure on Bonfire Night
31 October 2017

Staying safe and secure on Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night is on the horizon and homes across the UK will be lighting up the sky with fireworks and bonfires to celebrate.

As well as looking into the history of this famous tradition, we look at why it’s important to celebrate safely and securely when taking part at your home or in your community.

What is Bonfire Night?

Bonfire Night (or Fireworks Night, Guy Fawkes Night) is an annual commemoration that marks the prevention of the notorious Gunpowder Plot that was uncovered in November 1605. The Gunpowder Plot was a failed assassination attempt on King James I of England. The assassination was centred on a plan to blow up the House of Lords in London during the State Opening of Parliament, and whilst it was occupied by the King.

Who was Guy Fawkes?

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Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gunpowder_Plot_conspirators.jpg

Guy (Guido) Fawkes is the most recognised member of the famed group of men that conspired to attempt the assassination. After news of the plot was discovered by the authorities before the crime could take place, Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed - found guarding a significant amount of gunpowder and explosives that had been placed beneath the House of Lords. Many of the remaining plotters had fled, eventually making a stand against the pursuing Sheriff of Worcestershire in a bloody shoot out at Holbeche House in Staffordshire. The 8 plotters that survived, including Guy Fawkes, were arrested and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

To mark the foiling of the plot, people lit bonfires around London that night as an act of celebration that King James I had survived the attempt on his life. This is where the tradition takes its inspiration.

When does Bonfire Night take place?

Bonfire Night traditionally takes place on, and in the days surrounding 5th November. This marks the historical date when the Gunpowder Plot was foiled and Guy Fawkes was caught at approximately midnight on 4th November 1605.

What celebrations take place on Bonfire Night?

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Celebrations include letting off fireworks and lighting bonfires to symbolise the failed explosions and subsequent capture of Guy Fawkes. Some bonfires even include the burning of an effigy of the man himself. Other common activities include the lighting of sparklers and to enjoy food and drink with friends and family. Bonfires and fireworks take place at organised local events, but it is also very common for people to let off fireworks in their own gardens.

An explosion in burglary and fire claims

According to research by AVIVA*, burglary claims increase by 22% on Bonfire Night compared to normal day. They also state that fire claims are 60% higher on Bonfire Night, with a typical house fire causing around £12,800 of damage.

Burglaries are thought to increase due to people leaving their homes unsecured whilst enjoying the occasion. AVIVA say research showed 13% of homeowners leave their front door unlocked when having their own display, and two-thirds don’t check their windows are locked, which of course gives opportunist burglars a quick opportunity to steal. They also said 33% of people that attend fireworks parties don’t check their windows are locked.

The use of fireworks presents many fire safety risks, so it is extremely important to use them safely and with care. Be sure that you don’t make the mistake of letting your fireworks or bonfire get out of control this November.

Tips and advice on keeping your home hazard free this bonfire night…

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• Remember to lock your doors and windows, whether at home or out.
• If going out, always set your burglar alarm system.
• If building a bonfire, ensure it is set up in a safe location that is set away from your property and any possible hazards.
• Always pour water on your bonfire at the end of your bonfire party.
• Ensure not to light your sparklers inside your home or leave them unattended. Children should be supervised.
• Once finished with sparklers, make sure you put them in a bucket of water to prevent any possible fires.
• If you do decide that you’re going to put on your own firework display, always follow the instructions carefully and ensure that you only buy them from reputable retailers.

Protecting your property

To guard your home against a break-in, a good burglar alarm system is a must. Combined with a basic level of external security lighting,  this will provide you with an effective burglar deterrent. For fire safety, most homes already have smoke alarms fitted. Try to make sure that you check your smoke alarms regularly and replace their batteries. Do not remove them as this can leave yourself and your family at risk.

Allcooper can offer a number of different ways to help you protect your home from burglary and be alerted to signs of fire. We recommend combining fire detection and intruder detection together. Linking smoke and gas sensors to an existing intruder alarm systems ensures you will be alerted to any signs of smoke, increased heat or a hazardous gas leak at the earliest opportunity. We are even able to ensure you are notified of any activation from your alarm via our monitoring service. This is without a doubt the most comprehensive solution, as it can significantly reduce damage and devastation.

*Source: https://www.aviva.co.uk/home/home-advice/article/bad-guys-come-out-bonfire-night-sparking-22-increase-burglaries

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