Safety First News
Halloween Safety -Don't Burn Things Down
October 29, 2017
Halloween is a cherished tradition in the United States for many reasons. Most enjoy the creativity of deciding what costume to wear, or even create. Kids love the prospect of seemingly unlimited free candy. Adults usually welcome the first signs of autumn and the threshold of a new holiday season.
Halloween seems to have something to offer for all age groups –even for those who want to stay home and see neighborhood children’s costumes as they stop by and say, “Trick-or-Treat!”
No matter how you decide to enjoy the Halloween celebration, take a moment with your family to ensure it won’t be a Halloween remembered because it was spent in the emergency room.
Last year, we published an article entitled, “Top Halloween Injuries – A Scary Surprise,” which highlighted the top Halloween-related injuries. In addition, we offered safety tips to avoid injury during the holiday fun. This year, we decided to concentrate on fire awareness. It only takes a small effort to ensure safety from fires; otherwise, it might only take a careless moment that changes everything forever.
Halloween Fire Incidents
The U.S. Fire Administration reported in a recent three-year study that over 10,000 Halloween fires were accidentally started. These Halloween fires resulted in 125 injuries, over $83 million in property loss, and 25 deaths. The average injuries and fatalities attributed to fires over the Halloween holidays were said to be greater than those during the rest of the year.
Peak times for fires are said to be between the hours of 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm, which makes sense. Around dusk, people tend to light their jack-o-lantern candles and fire up the burners and ovens to prepare special holiday treats and hot drinks. Fireplaces and space heaters are cranked up to help keep areas warm, too.
Kitchen activities on Halloween turn out to be the number one cause of fires, and the number two cause of fires involves costumes getting too close to heating sources (fireplace, candles, space heaters, etc.).
How to Reduce Halloween Fire Risk
- Establish a rule for yourself and your family: No open flames on Halloween. This includes candles in jack-o-lanterns and fire pits. With the availability of battery-operated candles that have the candle-flicker-effect, there really shouldn’t be any specific need for an open flame candle to be used during Halloween.
- Check all costumes and ensure they are labeled as fire-retardant or fire-resistant. Homemade costumes should keep flammability of the material in mind.
- Take a moment to check smoke alarms to ensure they are operational. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reports in fires where smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or a disconnected power source.
- Keep an approved fire extinguisher accessible in the kitchen and anywhere cooking activities and space warming are occurring. Ensure everyone knows how to safely use it.
- Establish a home fire emergency escape plan and practice it. If you or your kids will be attending a Halloween party, remind everyone to be aware of open flames and candles, and to be mindful of safe ways to get out of areas when arriving to the party.