Here at Evander we work with many different home insurance companies, helping their customers who have suffered damage to their homes as a result of accident, forced entry or wear & tear. We’re often asked to attend properties which have been damaged by adverse weather conditions, but at this time of year we can also see minor glazing repairs & replacements arising from misuse of fireworks and bonfires – the major problems are sadly often left in the hands of the fire service.
Although the ‘official’ date for fireworks in the UK is 5th November (Guy Fawkes Night), firework displays tend to be saved for the weekend, meaning that this weekend is likely to see peak firework use, by both professional display organisers and people outside their own homes.
Common Firework Mishaps
Bonfires and fireworks can get out of control much quicker than you may think, and even those experienced in such matters can find that accidents happen. Common problems relating to fireworks and bonfires – aside from setting fire to other things, of course – includes broken glazing when rockets or similar ‘launching’ fireworks are set off in the wrong direction, and damage to uPVC frames due to exposure to high temperatures. Fireworks which need to be attached to something in order to work, such as Catherine wheels have, in the past, been attached to gates or fencing which is too close to the property, causing problems with excess heat or projectiles.
Melted uPVC, damaged conservatory roofs and smashed glazing are all annoying issues, but they become even more so at this time of year, where the temperature is dropping and burglary is on the rise due to darker evenings. Ensuring your home is safe when setting off your own fireworks or lighting your own bonfire can save you a lot of money and hassle, so it’s important to take precautions.
Firework & Bonfire Best Practice
When setting off fireworks near to your home, perhaps in your back garden, you should ensure that there is plenty of space. Fireworks should be lit at a very decent distance from your home, outbuildings, and any large overhanging trees or bushes. In all instances you should check the guidelines on the fireworks you have bought, and stick to them religiously. Fireworks will create a lot of smoke as well as light and noise, so this should also be taken into consideration. If your garden is not big enough then don’t risk it. Use a friend’s or family member’s garden if they have a larger space, or check with your local council to see if there are any community spaces which can be used. Always have buckets of water nearby should something go wrong and never, ever, EVER return to a firework once it has been lit.
When it comes to bonfires, it’s important to ensure there’s a large area cordoned off around it and that it is not close enough to your property to cause heat damage. Bonfires can get very lively and very hot with relatively little to burn, so always go above and beyond with cautiousness. Never throw used firework casing into the bonfire, as some components may not have ‘gone off’ properly and the heat of the fire can cause aborted fireworks to shoot out at unpredictable angles. Boxes of ‘bangers’ – fireworks which make loud noises and flashes – often come in sets of 50 or 100, and not all of these individual bangers will always go off properly. These are particularly dangerous when put into a bonfire.
What To Do If Something Goes Wrong
If your home does sustain damage due to a bonfire or fireworks, the first thing you need to do is to ensure everyone in the vicinity is safe. If there is a fire and you cannot get it under control easily, call the fire brigade. Any damage should be photographed and your home insurance company should be notified as soon as possible. Try to refrain from touching the damaged areas for your own safety and keep children and pets away from the area.