Halloween Fire Safety Tips
Friday, October 29th, 2021
Halloween Decorations and Fire Safety
Dried flowers, crepe paper, cornstalks and decorative scarecrows may make your home look festive for fall, but these classic decorations can also pose a scary fire risk. The National Fire Protection Association says flammable decorations are the first things to ignite in 900 reported home fires each year; two of every five of these incidents start by a candle.
Decorate safely and keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t put decorations near open flames and other heat sources, such as light bulbs and heaters.
- Check that any decorative lights have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Examine each set of lights for broken sockets, frayed wires or loose connections, and discard any damaged sets. Be careful not to overload sockets when plugging in lights and other electronic decorations.
- Consider glow sticks or battery-operated candles instead of real candles when lighting your jack-o’-lanterns or other luminaries. If you do use real candles, light them with long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Keep lit decorations off of doorsteps, yards and sidewalks where excited trick-or-treaters may knock them over.
- Check that no decorations are blocking your home’s exits or pathways, so you have a clear escape route in case of an emergency.
To make sure children enjoy their evening of trick-or-treating, follow these tips:
- Avoid costumes with loose, trailing fabrics or other hanging parts, which can catch fire on open flames. Check the labels on costumes, wigs and props to be sure they are made with flame resistant or retardant materials.
- Double-check that the eyeholes in masks are large enough that children can see and avoid any trips or falls, or brushes with open flames. If visibility is an issue, use makeup or face paint instead of masks.
- Provide flashlights or glow sticks to carry for lighting, and use glow-in-the-dark reflective tape on costumes for extra visibility near roads.
- Talk with children about fire safety before heading out, reminding them to stay away from open flames.
- Practice the “stop, drop and roll” technique. “This is a great time of the year for adults to teach children about fire safety, as well as first aid measures if someone gets hurt,” Hultman says.
Additional Halloween Safety Tips
- When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out.
- Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
- Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-olanterns. 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-olanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
- Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)