Families planning a lockdown Bonfire Night at home are being warned they face even greater risks than usual this year.
Dave Williams, from the Henshalls Group, said research had shown that claims generally doubled around November 5 in a normal year.
“But this year, with community fireworks and bonfires cancelled because of the Coronavirus lockdown, more people are likely to be celebrating at home which brings even greater risks.”
Data from Aviva showed that last year, fire claims almost doubled (increasing by 88%) between November 5 and 7, compared to the rest of the month.
And the increase was even greater on November 5 in 2018, with 150% more claims than in the rest of November.
“The claims were for damage caused when bonfires got out of hand and involved fences, sheds and garages, or for items burned by fireworks including trampolines and other garden equipment,” said Dave.
“Even more worryingly, during the first lockdown, insurers saw an increase in fire claims as people were burning rubbish at home when refuse sites were closed.
“So now, with Bonfire Night occurring on the first day of a second lockdown, we’re concerned it’s the perfect storm and would urge families to take extra care if they are planning to light fireworks in their garden.”
Dave said it wasn’t just the bonfire or the fireworks that were a risk – the ashes left over may still be hot enough to burn through rubbish bins or refuse piles.
“Of course, given the year that we’ve all had, it’s understandable that families will want to celebrate and enjoy their very own firework display, but it’s vital that everyone takes extra precautions to make sure everyone is safe.
“And when it comes to the fireworks themselves, it’s important to remember that around half the injuries each year involve children under the age of 17.
“Don’t assume either that sparklers are the safe option for smaller children – three sparklers burning together generate the same amount of heat as a blow torch and they are five times hotter than cooking oil when they’re lit.
“Remember to secure your house too, as would-be burglars may decide to take advantage of the fact that everyone is outside and target your house under cover of darkness.”