NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Halloween is a boo-tiful time of the year, full of spooky celebrations and activities, but it also presents some real and scary fire safety hazards.
According to a news release, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is encouraging everyone to take simple precautions that can help ensure the holiday remains festively fun as the holiday nears.
“As more people plan to celebrate the holiday this year, whether it be trick-or-treating or costume parties, we want everyone to know where potential fire risks exist so they can take the steps needed to minimize them,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA.
According to NFPA, an annual average of 770 home structure fires began with decorations between 2014 and 2019, resulting in one civilian fire death, 26 civilian fire injuries, and $13 million in direct property damage.
More than two of every five of these fires occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source, such as a candle or hot equipment.
NFPA offers these tips and guidelines for enjoying a fire-safe Halloween:
- Decorations: Many common decorations like cornstalks, crepe paper, and dried flowers are very flammable. Keep these and similar decorations far away from any open flames or heat sources, like candles, heaters, and light bulbs.
- Candles: Using candles as decoration can be risky if not done correctly. Keep them in a well-attended area out of the path of potential trick-or-treaters. Remind children of the dangers of open flames, and make sure they are always supervised when candles are lit. Extinguish candles before leaving an area.
- Jack-o-lanterns: Glow sticks or electric candles are the safest choices when it comes to lighting up your jack-o-lantern, but if you choose to use a real candle, do so with extreme caution. Light a candle inside a jack-o-lantern using log fireplace matches or a utility lighter and keep it away from other decorations.
- Costumes: avoid fabric that billows or trails behind you, as these can easily ignite. If you are making your own costume, avoid loosely woven fabrics like linen and cotton, which can be flammable.
- Visibility: Give children flashlights or glowsticks for lighting, these can even be incorporated into the costume. If your child has a mask, ensure the eye holes are large enough for them to see clearly.
- Smoke Alarms: This is a great time to make sure your smoke alarms are functional and up to date.
- Exits: Exits are not appropriate places for decorations. When decorating, make sure that nothing is blocking any escape routes.
“With a little added awareness and planning, people can enjoy a fun-filled Halloween and stay fire-safe in the process,” said Carli.
For more safety resources and tips, visit the NFPA Halloween page.
Spooktacular activities for kids can be found on the NFPA’s Sparky the Fire Dog homepage.