Halloween festivities can increase the risk of fire-related injuries and property damage. In Oregon between 2004 and 2008, in the days leading up to Halloween, there were 125 structure fires that caused over $2 million dollars in property damage. Even of more consequence, these fires injured a civilian and three firefighters.
With Halloween events and activities in full effect this weekend, Portland Fire & Rescue wants to remind you of simple tips to increase fire safety:
- Buy only costumes, wigs and props labeled flame-resistant or flame-retardant. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
- Provide children with lightweight flashlights to carry for lighting or as part of their costume.
- 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.
- It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
- Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
- Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
- If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for exits and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
October 30, 2009