Halloween Safety Tips
Glowing jack-o-lanterns, festive decorations, spooky costumes – Halloween offers tons of festive fun, but it does come with hidden fire dangers that can be truly scary. Fortunately, by following some simple safety precautions from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), you can ensure a day of safe fun for your family and trick-or-treaters.
Candles & Costumes
"Everyone loves decorating their homes and wearing colorful costumes on Halloween, and we want them to enjoy it all," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA's vice president of Outreach and Advocacy, "but this holiday can quickly turn hazardous if proper precautions aren't taken." Candle decorations and costumes with billowing or long trailing fabric are a fire risk, according to Carli.
NFPA's most recent statistics show that decorations were the first items to be ignited in an average of 860 reported home structure fires per year from 2009 to 2013, resulting in one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13.4 million in direct property damage.
Decorations as a Heat Source
In addition, nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source. Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den.
The Sparky the Fire Dog® website features tip sheets, kids' activities, an e-card, and a Sparky pumpkin-carving template. For parents and teachers, NFPA also created a simple Halloween fire safety tip graphic.
NFPA provides safety tips to keep everyone safe this Halloween, including:
- When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or 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. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can clearly see out of them.
- Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costumes.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
- It is safest to use a glow stick or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times.
- Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.