London Fire Brigade

Strictly the quietest Bonfire Night on record, say firefighters

26 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing, X Factor and Twitter helped make last November 5 the quietest on record for the capital’s firefighters, according to a new report being published next month.

According to the report from the London Fire Brigade, the number of Bonfire Night call outs firefighters received this year fell sharply after 7pm, when Strictly Come Dancing started. Often, the number of fires on Bonfire Night continues to rise until at least 8pm and remains high well into the evening. However, with November 5 falling on a Saturday this year, fires peaked between 6pm and  7pm before dropping by around a third. The number of Bonfire Night blazes stayed low for the rest of the night resulting in the quietest Guy Fawkes Night on record.

The report puts the drop in fires down to a triple whammy of factors that saw people curtail their usual Bonfire Night plans. Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor meant more people stayed inside to watch TV or finished their celebrations early. The London Fire Brigade’s live Tweetathon, where it tweeted live to thousands of people about every Bonfire Night fire, also encouraged people who were celebrating to stay safe.

For example, on tweet read, “If you’re going inside to watch #xfactor, please make sure your bonfire is completely out,” and another, “If you’ve had a couple of cheeky #bonfirenight beers please don’t be tempted to light a firework (or bonfire), booze + fireworks = bad idea.”

London Fire Brigade’s twitter messages were seen by millions of people as the X Factor and Philip Schofield tweeted their millions of followers about the @londonfire Tweetathon.

Overall, firefighters went to 154 fires on November 5 this year, down 12 per cent on the previous year, making 2011 the quietest Bonfire Night in London since records began.

Ron Dobson, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said:

“Bonfire Night is traditionally the busiest night of the year for firefighters up and down the country but this year was different. With Strictly and the X Factor encouraging people to stay inside and the London Fire Brigade highlighting the dangers of Bonfire Night live via Twitter, people were much more likely to stay safe.

“We know that young people, celebrating with their friends, are amongst those most likely to have fires on Bonfire Night. Our Tweetathon was a great way of communicating with young people who might not otherwise think about fire safety.”