Halloween is near and you’ve prepared costumes, decorations, and special treats. But have you considered the accidents that can occur on Halloween? According to the US Fire Administration, for each year from 2014 to 2016, there were about 10,100 reported fires over a three-day period around Halloween in the US. Those fires caused an estimated 30 deaths, 125 injuries and $102 million in property loss.
As you can see, the spookiest thing about Halloween is the hazards, especially those related to fire. Here’s a list of safety measures you can take to make sure your Halloween celebration stays fun and memorable.
Halloween Fire Safety Tips
- Decoration placement — Don’t place decorations near candles and other heat sources, such as electric heaters or light bulbs. Also, place decorations far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, driveways, doorsteps, and walkways. Ensure exits are clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Jack-o-lanterns — Use battery-operated lights or flashlights instead of candles in jack-o-lanterns. If you use real candles, be extremely cautious when handling the pumpkins. Keep them at a safe distance from flammable items.
- String lights — Indoors and outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Also, check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Discard damaged sets. And don’t overload extensions cords!
- Other lights — Use battery-operated candles as alternatives to wax candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
- Costumes — When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose a material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame.
- “Stop, drop and roll” — Tell children to stay away from open flames. Have them practice the “stop, drop, and roll” technique in case their costume catches fire: stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with their hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.
- When kids attend parties — If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
Other Halloween Safety Tips
- Accompany your kids — Children under the age of 12 should be accompanied by a trusted adult when going out at night. Teens can be allowed to go in groups and trick-or-treat in well-lit areas.
- Know where your child is going — Be familiar with the route your kids will be taking and make sure they carry a mobile phone. Tell them to check in with you every hour and to come back home at a designated time.
- Costume props — Any props that a child might carry, such as a pitchfork, knife or scythe, should be flexible and safe enough to not cause an injury.
- Pets — If you choose to dress up your pet, make sure that the costume does not constrict the animal’s movement or annoy him in any other way. Additionally, keep candles, props, wires, and cords out of reach of your pets. Make sure jack-o-lanterns with candles can’t be knocked down by dogs or cats.
Tips to protect children from vehicles while trick-or-treating:
- Costume design — Choose a light-colored costume and attach reflective tape or stickers to make them more visible.
- Masks — Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, so consider replacing them with face paint or makeup. But if your child does wear a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
- Carrying lights — Children should carry flashlights or glow sticks to see and be seen during night time. Those can be a fun addition to their costumes, as well!
- Crossing streets — Tell them to walk and not run. Before crossing a street, they must use crosswalks whenever possible and look both ways.
- Driving — Adults should pay close attention when driving, and anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic, especially between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; remind other drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters, too.
Unfortunately, fire disasters can happen even to the most vigilant of people who follow these Halloween safety tips. If you require professional fire and smoke restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office. Be safe and have a Happy Halloween!