Halloween is creeping up on us. The rush is on to find the perfect pumpkin, the spookiest costume, and the best candy for trick-or-treaters. However, along with all this excitement comes potential fire hazards related to seasonal decor and costumes. Fortunately, fire risks can be avoided by following the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Halloween safety precautions.
“Halloween brings out creativity in people of all ages. Children enjoy dressing up and going door-to-door collecting candy, and adults go all out decorating their homes with spooky accents,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “The festivities, however, can be dampened if the proper safety measures are not put in place ahead of time and while out canvassing the neighborhood for treats.”
From 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 840 home structure fires per year that began with decorations. These fires caused an average of 2 civilian deaths, 36 civilian injuries, and $11.4 million in direct property damage, per year. Fire can start when candles are too close to decorations or when long, trailing costumes come into contact with candles.
To safely enjoy the Halloween holiday, NFPA has created a Halloween safety video that emphasizes preparedness and the importance of flame-resistant costumes and decorations. NFPA also offers parents and teachers tip sheets, kids’ activities, a pumpkin-carving template and more at the Sparky the Fire Dog® website. NFPA’s simple Halloween fire safety tip graphic is also great for sharing on social media so that people can enjoy a spooky and safe Halloween.
To ensure that your loved ones and home are free of fire this Halloween season, follow these safety guidelines:
- Refrain from having an open flame.
- Use battery-operated candles or glow-sticks in your jack-o-lanterns.
- Choose the right costume. Try to stay away from long or flowing fabric, and remain vigilant of extraneous costume pieces.
- Avoid flammable decorations including dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper that are highly flammable.
- Keep decorations away from open flames and other heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
- Remember to keep all decorations away from doors so that they are not blocking any exits or escape routes.
- Make sure all of your smoke alarms are working and up to date.
- Provide flashlights to children or have children carry glow sticks as part of their costumes.
- Make sure if a child is wearing a mask that the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out of them.