October 25, 2009 20:00 ET

Family Homes at Risk From Halloween Fires

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 25, 2009) - The traditional Halloween pumpkin can pose a serious fire hazard if left unattended, according to Swinton, the UK's leading high street insurance retailer.

A survey of 1,000 Swinton home insurance policy holders found that 74% of families leave lit pumpkins on display in empty rooms, and a further 8% admitted to leaving the lantern precariously placed on windowsills where they could easily topple over and set fire to carpets or other soft furnishings. The risk of this is especially high when young children and pets are in the vicinity.

In 2007 candles resulted in 1,300(i) accidental fires in the UK, causing 26 deaths and during Halloween there is a surge in candle use as people decorate their homes for spooky celebrations.

Steve Chelton, Insurer Development Manager, for Swinton said "Pumpkins are often seen as 'harmless fun' so people become complacent about the genuine risks associated with them. At Swinton we advise everyone to be extra careful this Halloween with both pumpkins and candles, and take precautions to ensure that you do not put your family or home at risk."

Swinton offers these top five tips to reduce fire risk this Halloween:

1. Once lit, do not leave pumpkins or candles unattended - blow candles out when leaving a room or going to bed

2. For young children, use a small torch instead of candles inside pumpkins

3. Ensure pumpkins and candles are kept on steady surfaces

4. Keep candles at least three feet away from anything that could burn

5. Place candles out of reach of pets and children

About Swinton

  • With 580 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK's largest high street insurance retailer
  • Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community
  • Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance
  • With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates

(i)Fire Statistics issued by Communities for Local Government 2006

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