October 23, 2018 – Halloween is a fun, festive holiday for kids and adults alike, but it does present potential fire hazards. As the holiday fast-approaches, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) encourages everyone to keep fire safety in mind, and to take simple safety precautions that can help ensure a safe, fire-free day.
“Halloween is an exciting day for trick-or-treating, costume-wearing and creative home decorating,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “These activities do present potential fire hazards, however, so it’s important to keep safety in mind when preparing for the holiday.”
According to NFPA statistics, between 2012 and 2016, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 800 reported home structure fires per year, resulting in an average of two civilian deaths, 34 civilian injuries and $11 million in direct property damage. The decoration was too close to a heat source such as a candle or equipment in two of every five (42 percent) of these fires.
NFPA offers these tips and recommendations to help ensure a fire-safe Halloween:
- Costumes: When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long-trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame.
- Visibility: Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costumes. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he/she can see clearly out of it.
- Flammable decorations: Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
- Candles/jack-o-lanterns: It is safest to use a glow stick or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times. Do not leave them near flammable objects or where trick-or-treaters may walk. Remind your children to avoid open flames. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit.
- Exits: Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
NFPA also provides safety tips via a Halloween safety video that emphasizes preparedness to ensure that costumes and decorations are flame-resistant. Preventative methods are essential in reducing the risks associated with the Halloween holiday. Visit the Sparky the Fire Dog® website to find tip sheets, kids’ activities, a pumpkin-carving template and more.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.