Fire Safety Tips for Halloweenby Shelley Frost
The ghosts and ghouls of Halloween make the holiday exciting for kids of all ages, but the risk of fire creates a truly scary aspect for parents. The lighted decorations and costumes introduce more chances of fire. Take precautions before Halloween and on the day itself to keep your entire family safe and to reduce the risks of a fire.
Jack-o-lanterns are classic Halloween decorations that most children enjoy making. No jack-o-lantern is complete without a light source inside to illuminate the facial features. Candles are a common option, but they also introduce the risk of an unintentional fire. If your child or other trick-or-treaters get too close to the flame, their costumes could catch on fire. A battery-operated candle or flashlight is a safer alternative for lighting up the pumpkins. If you want to use candles, place the jack-o-lanterns far away from the action and teach your children to stay away from them.
Halloween decorations are often very flammable, especially dry cornstalks and paper decorations. The placement of these decorations affects their safety. Hang Halloween decorations away from sources of flames or heat, such as candles, light bulbs and heaters. Indoor Halloween candle holders and similar decorations should be displayed away from other flammable materials and out of the reach of young children.
Choose Safe Costumes
Costumes are a major part of Halloween for most children. While your kids will be concerned with choosing their favorite character, your focus is likely on the safety of the costume. If the outfit includes a mask, ensure that your child can see clearly so he can avoid candlelit jack-o-lanterns and other potential fire hazards. Read the label to determine if the costume is flame-resistant. Avoid costumes that are oversized, baggy or include lots of flowing fabric, which might accidentally come into contact with flames.
Keep Escape Routes Clear
Escape routes are an essential component to a fire safety plan. The National Fire Protection Association recommends keeping all Halloween decorations away from doors and windows that are part of the escape route in case a fire breaks out indoors. When attending Halloween parties at another venue or house, help your child identify at least two escape routes in case of a fire.
Practice Fire Safety
Prevention strategies keep your family safer, but practicing fire safety techniques prepares them if a fire does break out. Do a practice fire drill in your home before the Halloween season as a refresher. Have your kids practice the stop, drop and roll technique. Remind them throughout the Halloween season to avoid candles and other potential fire hazards.
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