Tips to staying safe this halloween and fireworks night:
Halloween is likely to encourage as much creativity in theft as it does in costume design. However, it is not just theft that you need to be aware of. Accidental damage, and vandalism, will – as ever – mean that some people’s Halloweens are SERIOUSLY frightful. Fireworks will also play a major part over the next two weekends.
Both homeowners and business owners should protect their property as best as possible ahead of the festivities. It might be children looking for bonfire materials on commercial premises, or causing havoc to homes when no treats are available – the TRICK is to be prepared. Here are some top halloween safety tips from the team at Brownhill Insurance Group:
Never keep keys, handbags or wallets near to the front or back door, or near to any window. “One thief used a hook through a client’s cat flap to grab the house keys and then let themselves in” laments Megan Thompson, one of Brownhill Insurance Group’s Private Client Account Executives. Whether you are out and about on Bonfire night (and therefore not home to protect your property) or if you are opening up your home to trick or treaters, be mindful of opportunists.
If you are welcoming trick or treaters, remember that young people will be coming on to your property:
- Make sure automatic security lighting is working well.
- Remove any hazardous material that might be blocking your driveway and could cause harm if accidentally tripped over.
- Rope off any valuable plants and ensure that any valuable garden statuary is made secure and is not hazardous.
- If you are getting creative with pumpkins or lanterns with candles in them, make sure that they are far enough out of the way so that costumes won’t accidentally be set on fire.
- If your door has a spy hole, look through it before answering the door. If not, see if there might be a way of taking a peek through a window near to the front door. If you are intimidated by the look of any visitors, do not answer the door. In extreme cases, call the Police.
- If you will not be at home, make sure that all doors and windows are locked and that no valuables are on show through windows. Close curtains.
The last thing a business needs is to lose out through time wasted making a claim, or through un-insured loss of profits as a result of stolen or damaged property. Warehouses, construction sites, yards and unoccupied premises are particularly vulnerable.
- Be doubly sure you have locked up all premises at night and when un-patrolled.
- Make secure, any building materials, tyres and pallets that need to be left outdoors, even if under cover.
- Do not leave oil supplies lying around.
- Make sure automatic security lighting and alarm systems are working well.
- If possible, have your property guarded during this week.
Ideally, all children trick or treating should be accompanied by an adult.
- Be visible, carry a torch and stay in well-lit areas.
- Be careful not to frighten elderly people.
- Be wary of taking food from strangers.
If your children will be trick-or-treating without you (they should be of an age that this is appropriate):
- Plan a trick or treat route with them.
- Instruct them not to talk to strangers in the street and not to knock on doors where there is a sign saying ‘No Trick or Treat Here’. You may even like to suggest that they only visit houses where you know the residents.
- If they are carrying a smartphone, consider setting up a tracker so you are aware of their movements and current position.
- Familiarise yourself, preferably in advance of festivities, with first aid measures to take if your child is hurt. See the British Red Cross’s website for guidance for prevention and treatment.
- If you are preparing costumes and taking your children out to trick or treat or see fireworks, think about the clothes that they are wearing (can they easily trip over in their costume? Are they fire resistance?)
- Be careful carving pumpkins with sharp knives. Sweets can be a common cause for choking. See the British Red Cross’s website for guidance for prevention and treatment.
Road Safety & Reporting Crime
If you are on the roads, look out for excited little ghosts, ghouls and grim reapers crossing the road.
Be alert to youths congregating. Do not attempt to tackle a large group of people committing a crime on your own. Call the police.
Whilst bearing all of these security measures in mind, the most important advice that Brownhill Insurance Group offer is… Have Fun!