Remember fire safety during Halloween season

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(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

STATEWIDE – The National Fire Protection Association is encouraging everyone to take precautions in order to protect everyone’s holiday.

“It is exciting to be able to trick or treat, wear costumes, and celebrate Halloween, particularly after last year, when most events and activities were canceled due to the pandemic,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “As more people plan to celebrate the holiday this year, we want everyone to know where potential fire risks exist so they can take the steps needed to minimize them.” 

According to NFPA Applied Research, a yearly average of 770 home structure fires began with Halloween decorations between 2014 and 2018, resulting in a yearly average of two fire deaths, 30 fire injuries and $11 million in property damage. Over two of every five of these fires took place because the decorations were too close to a heat source, such as a candle or hot equipment. 

NFPA recommends the following Halloween safety guidelines:

  • Decorations: Cornstalks, crepe paper, and dried flowers are very flammable. Keep these and other like it away from open flames or heat sources.
  • Candles: Keep them in a well-attended area out of the way of trick-or-treaters. Remind children of the dangers of open flames, and make sure they are always supervised when candles are lit. Extinguish candles before leaving an area.
  • Jack-o-lanterns: Glow sticks or electric candles are the safest choice when it comes to lighting up your jack-o-lantern, but if you use a real candle, use caution.
  • Costumes: Avoid fabric that billows or trails behind you, as these can ignite. If you’re going the homemade route, avoid loosely woven fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Visibility: Give children flashlights or glowsticks for lighting. Should your child have a mask, ensure the eye holes are large enough for them to see.
  • Smoke Alarms: Make sure your smoke alarms are functional and up to date.
  • Exits: Exits are NOT an appropriate place for decorations. Make sure nothing is blocking escape routes.

“With a little added awareness and planning, people can enjoy a fun-filled Halloween and keep everyone fire-safe in the process,” said Carli. 

Visit the NFPA Halloween safety page for more resources of how to stay safe. Frightfully fun activities for kids can be found on NFPA’s Sparky the Fire Dog® homepage.

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