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Home Tradesman Insights Guardian of Flames: Preventing Skip Fires this Bonfire Night

Guardian of Flames: Preventing Skip Fires this Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night is a beloved British tradition stretching back over 400 years. Families across the country will soon be gathering for firework displays and bonfires in celebration of Guy Fawkes’ failed Gunpowder Plot on 5th November 1605.

While fire is an iconic part of these historic festivities, uncontrolled burning poses serious risks to public safety. Records show fire services in the UK attend hundreds of call outs every Bonfire Night, many involving unwanted blazes in residential areas.

For tradespeople, Bonfire Night brings added challenges. The combination of reckless behaviour, under-supervised young people, and flammable waste materials creates a Perfect Storm for skip fires. Containers are set alight deliberately or accidentally, putting property, safety and even lives at risk.

Skip fires can also cause severe business disruption and costs for tradespeople. Lost or damaged skips, responding to emergency call outs, investigating fires – it all impacts productivity and the bottom line. With preparation and vigilance, tradespeople can reduce these risks.

As trusted guardians of waste disposal across the country, the tradespeople of today have an important part to play in preventing skip fires this Bonfire Night. What follows are some key steps tradespeople can take.

Reduce Burnable Materials

In the weeks leading up to November 5th, be extra vigilant about the contents you are placing in the skip. Try to minimise materials like untreated lumber, cardboard, fabrics, bundled paperwork and other flammable items.

If you can, inspect contents regularly and remove any hazardous or combustible waste. The less fuel available, the lower the chances of a major blaze erupting if the skip is tampered with.

Secure Your Sites

Review the security of your premises, storage yards and individual skip locations. Ensure lighting is adequate, security cameras are functional, and fencing intact. Check for any weak points in your perimeter that could allow access and make repairs.

Also double check that emergency exits from your facilities are clearly marked and accessible in the event quick evacuation is needed due to a fire or other emergency.

In the days leading up to 5th November, consider having staff conduct regular patrols around your sites to check for trespassers and deter any potential vandals.

Partner with Customers

Communicate with business and residential customers where skips are onsite about the increased fire risk around Bonfire Night. Advise them to check their skips regularly and ensure no hazardous or combustible materials have been added.

When skips are first put on site, suggest they’re kept in well-lit areas, away from fences, buildings and overhanging trees. Where feasible, closed-circuit television monitoring of skip locations is ideal.

For skips in public areas, temporary signage cautioning against fire may help deter misuse of contents over the Bonfire Night period. Work together with customers for everyone’s safety.

Prepare Fire Response Plans

Ensure all staff members and customers are briefed on emergency procedures in the event a skip onsite is maliciously set alight.

You should confirm that access routes are clear to allow fire crews to reach your sites if required.

Analyse any past problem sites that have seen skip fires or vandalism around Bonfire Night. Take extra precautions like added security and lighting to protect your skip.

Protect Your Business with Insurance

The risk of skip fires arising from reckless behaviour sadly increases every Bonfire Night. While prevention is critical, accidents can still happen. Make sure your business is protected with adequate public liability insurance, just in case.

Public liability covers costs if a member of the public is injured or has property damaged as a result of your operations. This includes fires that begin in your skips, whether accidental or intentional. Legal expenses arising from any claims are also covered in your Tradesman Saver policy.

Review your policy to ensure your level of cover is sufficient, and speak to your broker if you have any concerns. Your livelihood depends on it.

Here at Tradesman Saver, we know Britain’s tradespeople take their responsibilities seriously. By working together and remaining vigilant, we can enjoy Bonfire Night without unwanted blazes.

Wishing you and your staff a safe festive period. Please take care, and as always, make sure it’s Tradesman Saver!

Stephanie Lowndes

Stephanie is a Digital Marketing Masters Graduate with extensive Customer Service experience gained in the retail and hospitality sectors. Stephanie is currently a Senior Marketing Executive at Tradesman Saver.

All articles by Stephanie Lowndes

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