October is known as a spooky month with Halloween displays in stores and in our neighborhoods. But it isn’t the kids with vampire teeth or the zombie entering your property that’s a threat. The real danger is the uptick in household fires due to Halloween decorations, and ignoring these safety tips can result in a truly scary situation. The National Fire Protection Association warns home and business owners of fire safety hazards we unknowingly create including the following:
- Decorating with corn stalks, spider webs and other dried materials are like fire starters attached to your home or even worse, a child. This includes flowing fabric which is often on display in costumes (yes, that’s You, Zombie). These can accelerate a fire from a spark to full blaze rather quickly and need to be avoided or kept far away from any sparks or flames.
- Use battery operated decorations wherever a candlelight is desired. Jack-o-Lanterns look just as scary when the light radiating is from a battery-operated device and can be found in your local decorating or big box store.
- Make sure any masks still provide full visibility for both kids and adults alike! Better yet, use face paint to allow for better 20/20 vision. Many lawns have decorations, and candles on the porch which can quickly ignite a costume to go up in flames before you realize it. Remember, fire retardant does not mean fire-proof!
- Remind kids about Stop, Drop and Roll, even making a game out of practicing. But remind them that in a real emergency, it is not a game, and the most effective way is to drop completely and cover face with their hands as they roll continually until the fire is out!
- If you are hosting a party, be sure that all exits are visible and accessible. These escape doors are not the place for extra decorations and should be left unlocked for quick access. Keep in mind that many holiday parties include alcohol, and guests may have impaired judgement, so it is critical that you are aware of any deterrents to guests’ safety.
Nearly 800 house fires per year are attributed to decorations being the first thing ignited to cause the fire, according to the NFPA. Furthermore, be aware that more than 1/3 of these fires began with a candle flame. So, unless under 100% adult supervision, avoid all candles in your decorations, and focus on the cute little monsters coming to your door. That’s the only scare you want on this haunted holiday!! Have fun and be safe!