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Halting Halloween Hazards

Posted by pstaples Employee Oct 16, 2019

Halloween has become a hugely popular time for fun and festivities, but with it comes the potential for a variety of fire hazards. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) encourages everyone to take these simple precautions to stay safe without sacrificing that fun.

 

According to NFPA research, 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 almost half of these fires.

 

NFPA offers these tips to stay safe during the spooky season:

 

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 very flammable.

 

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 supervised at all times when candles are lit. Extinguish candles before leaving an area.

 

Jack-o-lanterns: Glow sticks or electric candles are the safest choice 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 long fireplace matches or a utility lighter, and keep it away from other decorations.

 

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 an appropriate place for decorations. When decorating, ensure that nothing is blocking any escape routes.

 

 

For more info, check out our Halloween safety video on ways to reduce risk associated with Halloween. You can also visit Sparky the Fire Dog at his website to find tip sheets, kids activities, a pumpkin-carving template, and more!

 

Have a spooky (but safe) Halloween!

September means new classes, new friends, and often new living spaces. NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety are partnering up this year to help ensure those living spaces are as safe as possible, and you can help!

The goal of the “Campus Fire Safety for Students” campaign is to raise awareness about the threat of fire in both on- and off-campus housing, and provide relevant information and action steps for campus staff, parents, and students. According to NFPA, September and October have the highest incidences for fires in dormitories, so the best time to prepare is now! The following tips are a great place to start:

  • Have an evacuation plan and practice it as if it were the real thing. Know two ways out of every room.  
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking. Never leave cooking equipment unattended, even briefly.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly in an apartment or house. Ensure smoke alarms are installed in all sleeping areas, outside of all sleeping areas, and on every level of the apartment or house. In dorms, make sure each sleeping room has a smoke alarm or the dormitory suite has a smoke alarm in each living area as well as the sleeping rooms. NEVER remove or disable smoke alarms.
  • Keep combustible items away from heat sources and never overload electrical outlets, extension cords, or power strips. Many fires are caused by portable lights and heat sources, like space heaters and halogen lamps.
  • Keep common areas and hallways free of possessions and debris.

Campaign resources include videos, checklists, infographics, tip sheets, and more, and are designed to be shared through social media, school newspapers, college websites, and posted in dormitory common areas. Learn preventative actions that can save lives. Share the information with people you know. Keeping campuses safe from fire is a collaborative effort; help us foster a culture of awareness and preparedness by starting today.

Learn more about the “Campus Fire Safety for Students” campaign and find additional resources at www.nfpa.org/campus or on The Center’s website.

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