Halloween Fire Safety: Preventing Fires While Trick or Treating
Halloween is a festive time, full of spooky jack-o-lanterns, scary costumes, and plenty of sweet treats. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most common holidays for fires. According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, more than 10,000 fires are reported over a three-day period around Halloween every year. Before you decorate your house or put the kids in their costumes, make sure you review these Halloween fire safety tips to prevent fire damage and smoke damage.
Halloween Fire Safety Tips For Decorating Your House
It has become increasingly popular to decorate the outside of your home for Halloween. Whether you’re going for fun, spooky or super scary, remember to think about fire safety when decorating.
Few Halloween decorations are as iconic as the jack-o-lantern. While candles are traditional, consider using LED lights or glow sticks as a safer alternative. If you do use candles, light them with long matches or a utility lighter. Place jack-o-lanterns on a level, stable surface away from trick or treaters. Keep them away from flammable decorations, like hay bales and corn stalks, and never keep a light jack-o-lantern inside your home. Avoid leaving jack-o-lanterns unattended, especially after posted trick or treat times, to prevent accidental fires due to vandalism. Have a fire extinguisher nearby and review the operating instructions so you are prepared in case there is an accident.
While lining your driveway or sidewalk with paper bag or plastic milk jug luminaries looks great, trick or treaters are likely to knock them over. This is likely to start a fire and may even catch their costumes on fire. A much safer option is to use LED lights in your luminaries. Not only do they last a long time, but the batteries are replaceable so you can use them again and again.
Hay bales, corn stalks, paper or cardboard signs, and even foam decorations are inexpensive and look great, but most of them are flammable. For that reason, keep them away from candles and open flames. Hay bales and corn stalks are especially flammable, so avoid placing them near jack-o-lanterns with candles. Either use LED lights or glow sticks to light them or keep them in separate areas.
Avoid Open Flames
In addition to limiting candles and open flames in luminaries and jack-o-lanterns, avoid including any other open flame in your decorating plans. This includes touches and fire pits. While fire pits are great for staying warm on a cold night, only use a covered fire pit and keep it away from trick or treaters to reduce the risk of accidents. Also, make sure you have a fire extinguisher close by and review the operating instructions so you are prepared to use it if necessary.
Clear A Pathway
Whether you are putting up a few items or filling up your yard, make sure there is a clear path for trick or treaters to safely approach you. If you have elaborate decorations, post signs to limit confusion and prevent accidents. Keep open flames, including jack-o-lanterns and fire pits, out of the flow of foot traffic.
Halloween Fire Safety Tips For Trick Or Treating
If you’ll be taking the kids trick or treating, make sure you review basic fire safety with them and check their costumes for potential fire hazards before going out.
Review Fire Saftey
Before you head out to go trick or treating, take a few minutes to review basic fire safety with your kids. Make sure they understand the dangers of fires and know to stay away from flames, including jack-o-lanterns. Remind them to stop, drop, and roll if their costume does catch fire. If you are going out with young children, hold their hand to keep them from wondering towards flames or fires.
Check Costumes for Hazards
If you are buying a costume, make sure that it is flame retardant to limit the risk of danger. When making a costume, avoid using materials that can catch fire easily like tissue paper and thin fabrics. Make sure that nothing long is hanging from the costume that could catch fire or create a trip hazard. If they are wearing a mask, make sure they have a clear field of vision so they can see and avoid hazards.
Carry a Flashlight or Glow Sticks
Make sure you have at least one flashlight with you so you can light the way and avoid trip hazards. Be aware of your surroundings and identify fire risks for your children. Consider having younger children wear or carry glow sticks to increase their visibility. This will prevent others from running into them or knocking them down.
— Sparky the Fire Dog (@Sparky_Fire_Dog) October 25, 2017
Halloween Fire Safety Tips For A Party
Whether you are planning a Halloween party for your kids or other adults, take steps to prevent fires and keep your family and guests safe.
Watch Open Flames
While candles and jack-o-lanterns can create a spooky and fun atmosphere, an open flame poses a risk of fire. We recommend that you avoid any type of open flame, including candles, at parties for younger children. For parties with older kids or adults, make sure the area around candles are clear and they cannot be easily knocked over. Never light a jack-o-lantern indoors, as it can easily start a fire if it gets knocked around. LED candles or lights are a better, safer option to candles.
Keep Exits Clear
When decorating for your Halloween party, make sure to think about safety as well. In the event of a fire or other emergency, make sure that doors and stairways are clear and easy to access. Avoid blocking doorways or walkways inside your home and make sure guests can safely exit every room in the event of an accident. Also, clear the area around exterior doors so your guests have an unobstructed path away from your home in case there is a fire.
Check Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers
You should already have smoke alarms in all common rooms and at least one fire extinguisher on each floor at all times, but before a Halloween party is a great time to check that they are in good working order. Test each smoke alarm and replace batteries as necessary. Inspect your fire extinguishers to make sure they are full and not out of date. Replace expired fire extinguishers and contact your local fire department to properly dispose of old units.
Halloween Fire Statistics
Fires around Halloween have a higher than average instance of both injuries and fatalities. The average dollar loss associated with Halloween fires is also higher, typically about $10,500. Halloween related fires are most likely to occur outdoors, with indoor fires only slightly less prevalent. While this may be surprising, Halloween fires are most common between 2 and 7 pm, with the highest concentration between 6 and 7 pm.
What To Do If You Have a Fire On Halloween
Even after taking every precaution, accidents still happen. If you encounter a fire on Halloween, make sure you know what steps to take to keep your family safe and limit fire and smoke damage.
No matter how small, calling 911 should be the first thing you do anytime there is a fire. Even if you think you can put the fire out, its best to call the fire department immediately. This ensures you have professional help just in case the fire gets out of control.
While you are on the phone with emergency services, start evacuating the area. Try to keep everyone as calm as possible to prevent a panic and reduce the risk of injuries. Keep everyone together and move them a safe distance away from the fire. Whenever possible, have another adult or an older child supervise young children.
Use Your Fire Extinguisher
If you can safely get to your fire extinguisher, use it slow the fire’s progress as you evacuate the area. While you may be tempted to try to put the fire out yourself, your goal should be to ensure your family and guests are able to safely evacuate. Keep the fire extinguisher between the flames and the exit, backing away slowing once everyone has gotten to safety. If the flames get out of control, evacuate to safety immediately and wait for the fire department to arrive.
What To Do If You Have Fire or Smoke Damage
A pumpkin fire or other Halloween decoration fire can cause both flame and smoke damage to your home. Due to the acidic nature of both smoke and soot, they can leave permanent stains within just hours of exposure, as well as spread much further than flames.
Let us give you peace of mind in an emergency. Restoration Local is the largest network of restoration contractors in the country. We have fire and smoke restoration professionals near you that are trained in the proper procedures to clean and restore your home or business after a fire.
Find a local fire damage company now or call 1-888-443-3110 to peak to our on-call fire damage removal company in your area. Our on-call fire damage removal partners offer a free, no-obligation estimate for fire damage or smoke and soot restoration.