With tomorrow being the spookiest night of the year, children will soon be out in costumes in search of candy and scary sights. However, there could be even more terrifying experiences than a haunted house lurking in the fun, as decorations and costumes present quite a few fire hazards making Halloween one of the most dangerous nights of the year. Fortunately, following a few simple safety precautions from the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, can help ensure that this ghoulish night is safe for every witch, wizard, or ghost.
According to the NFPA’s most recent statistics, decorations are typically the first item to be ignited, as an average of 860 people reported home stricter fires on this night per year from 2009 to 2013. This resulted in an average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries, and caused an estimated $13.4 million dollars in direct property damage. Nearly half of all decoration fires in homes are the direct result of decorations being too close to a source of heat. Candles started thirty-eight percent of these fires, with one-sixth starting in the family room, den, or living room.
Have a safe Halloween by following these tips from the National Fire Protection Association:
- Visibility – Give children flashlights or glow sticks to carry as part of their costumes when out trick-or-treating. If your child’s costume includes a mask, make sure that eye holes are large enough so that he or she can easily see out of it to avoid any potential danger.
- Costumes – Avoid long-trailing or billowing fabric when choosing a costume for yourself or your children. When possible, choose fabrics that are fire retardant or will not easily ignite when coming into contact with a source of heat.
- Flammable Decorations – Halloween and fall decorations are full of dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper – all of which are highly flammable. Keep these and decorations made of similar materials away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs.
- Exits – It is critical that you keep all exits clear of decorations or obstacles in case of an emergency that requires evacuation.
- Jack-O-Lanterns and Candles – When illuminating your carved pumpkin creation, it is always safest to use a glow stick or battery-operated candle. If you must use a real candle, use extreme caution. It is best to use a utility lighter or long fireplace match when lighting the flame. If you choose to use candles to set the spooky holiday mood, take extra caution not to leave them near flammable objects or in the path of excited trick-or-treaters, and be sure to keep them well attended.
Happy Halloween from the ATS Team!