Avoid a Haunting Halloween
Halloween is quickly approaching and soon children will be dressed in costumes in search of candy. Although costumes and decorations for Halloween are fun, they also pose numerous fire hazards as well. To eliminate the threat of fire, take a few safety precautions this year to protect your family, friends, and the many trick-or-treaters sure to stop by.
One of the most fun, yet dangerous parts of Halloween can be the costumes. Costumes pose the highest direct fire danger risk due to the materials used to make many costumes. Most materials used are highly flammable so be sure to check what the costume is made of when looking for the perfect one. If you are making a costume this year, you should also be conscientious of the materials you use. Do your best to avoid anything flammable and be aware of any flowing, long materials as they can easily catch fire from open flames.
Many decorate for Halloween and use open flames in jack-o-lanterns, but this can be very dangerous. According to the NFPA, National Fire Protection Association, decorations were often the first item ignited resulting in an average of 860 reports of home structure fires each year from 2009-2013. These fires caused an estimated average of one death, 41 injuries and $13.4 million in property damage each year. Many of these fires were the result of decorations being too close to a heat source or candles. A simple solution for safer decorations is to opt for a flashlight or battery-operated candle, instead of a real candle.
If you do switch to other light sources, or enjoy decorating with exterior and interior lighting, be sure to inspect for any wear and replace damaged cords and lights accordingly. When using these lights, do not overload circuits or overuse extension cords as these can quickly result in a fire. Most importantly, remember to check all lighting and turn everything out before going to bed.
Whether you decorate for Halloween or participate in a community bonfire, always be prepared for a fire emergency. When having a bonfire, practice open burning precautions such as brush clearing, making clear zones around the fire, check for local regulations, and have an extinguisher like STOP-FYRE available nearby. Having STOP-FYRE in case of a fire emergency is great, but also be sure that you know how to properly use it.
Eliminate the threat of fire for Halloween this year with appropriate costumes and decorations. If you decorate with cornstalks or straw bales, remember these are highly combustible and burn intensely. Be careful with any nearby heat sources, electrical wiring, and overloaded circuits. Always keep STOP-FYRE nearby and make sure you know how to properly use it. Taking precautions and being aware this Halloween will keep everyone safe and happy.