The holiday season is officially here, with Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas all coming up over the next few months.

But although these celebrations are fun and exciting, decorations and fireworks can prove dangerous.

There are more than 40,000 house fires in the UK every year and the time around Halloween and Bonfire Night can be particularly hazardous.

Fire Action expert Paul Garry shares his top safety tips for having a brilliant and safe party season.

Electrical sockets

More than 20,000 accidental house fires are electrical fires.

Nine out of ten of these are caused by electrical appliances.

Never overload your plugs, especially with products that use a lot of electricity, such as dehumidifiers.

Get into the habit of switching off any plug sockets when you are not using them or when you go to bed.


Make sure bonfires and fireworks are lit at least 18m away from houses, trees, hedges, fences, shrubs and sheds.

Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case of emergencies and pour water on the bonfire embers at the end of the night.

Always read the instructions on the firework (by torchlight rather than a naked flame!) and never go back to a lit firework.

Electric heaters

Ensure any electric heaters are kept at least 3m away from clothes or furniture. Keep them switched off whenever you are not in the house.

Never leave candles burning

Many of us love the atmospheric light candles give a room, and on Halloween, we’ll be putting them inside pumpkins.

However, they are a major cause of fires around the home, so you must blow out candles when you leave the room and never leave them unattended with children or pets in case they get knocked over by mistake.

Also, avoid using candles in bedrooms as you may fall asleep and leave them burning.

Fire-proof spray

Buy a flame-retardant spray to apply to your furniture. Check out sites such as

Leaving pans unattended can be a fire risk

Nearly 13,000 house fires a year start in the kitchen.

If a pan does catch fire, don’t throw water on it or move it, as this can make it worse.

If you can do it safely, turn the heat off at the source, and use an oven mitt to put a lid on the pan.

If you can’t, use a fire extinguisher (you can buy a home fire pack for about £20 from sites such as and aim it at the base of the fire.

Never use water to put out grease fires; instead throw baking soda or salt over it, or try to smother it with a damp towel.

Tumble driers

Clear out clogged lint trays every time you use your drier.

If you leave it, it could overheat and start a fire.

Get rid of pests

Mice or rats can chew on electrical insulation inside and outside your property. Always replace any damaged wires.

Clear things out

Old clothes, cardboard boxes, cuddly toys and newspapers stored in garages or attics are all highly flammable. So throw away or recycle unwanted things when you can.

Test your smoke alarms weekly

There should be a smoke alarm on every level of your house. On average, you are at least four times more likely to die if your smoke alarm is broken.

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If you're looking for a brilliant fireworks display to visit this Bonfire Night, why not check out our guide?