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2019

Entrance to theme park

This past week, one of my best girlfriends and I flew to Florida and spent an evening at Universal Studios Orlando Resort at Halloween Horror Nights. The Halloween-themed extravaganza included haunted houses, scare zones, and live entertainment featuring many Universal Studios characters. As Joyce and I strolled through the park, zombies, the walking dead, nurses covered in blood, and creatures wielding chain saws leaped out at us through the fog. It was fabulous.

Wanting more frights, we entered a haunted house–actually, a sound stage converted into the setting of the spine-tingling 2019 Jordan Peele horror movie, Us–in which a family arrives at their summer home and is attacked by a group of menacing doppelgangers. Once we and dozens of others entered the sound stage’s darkened labyrinth, objects and people jumped out at us and sound effect screams and growls gave our eardrums a workout.

I wasn’t too frightened, but more concerned about safety. I wondered what would happen if somebody tripped over the “dead bodies” if they got too close to them or lost their balance because they were startled by the creatures. If someone panicked, could there be a stampede?

I breathed easier when I thought back to the attendant outside of the attraction who used a counter device to click off how many of us were allowed to go in at a time. And once in the house I was relieved that at every corner, in every room, there was a theme park employee pointing us in the right direction and monitoring the activity in case problems arose.

Many of us will experience Halloween this evening, either in costume, or giving treats. Let’s not forget about potential tripping hazards as outlined in our Be Safe Halloween tip sheet.

      
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.
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  • Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costumes.
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  • If children wear masks, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.

If you participate in this spook-tacular observance, have a happy Halloween that is frightful, fun and free of tripping hazards.

 

Every year Halloween brings out excited children dressed in costumes running door to door to trick-or-treat as well as adults who dress up and head out to parties or make their own rounds through the neighborhood to acquire a sack full of candy. Homes inside and out are adorned with festive decorations, glowing jack-o-lanterns, and paper ghosts. Dried cornstalks bedeck front porches and walkways.

Unfortunately, these Halloween traditions can also present fire risks that have the potential to become dangerous. But by planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a safe one. The Halloween Safety page on the NFPA website is the gateway to a library of simple precautions, safety tips, videos, and educational materials for trick-or-treaters of all ages.

The Halloween Safety tip sheet includes fire safety precautions, such as making sure fabrics for costumes and decorative materials are flame-resistant.

The Candle Safety tip sheet includes the precaution to consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles.

The Halloween Safety Tips for Children video offers a number of tips for preventing fires.

All of these tools can help to keep the holiday both safe and fun.

Millions of people across the world are renting or hosting peer-to-peer hospitality services, such as Airbnb and Vacation Rentals by Owner. According to property management experts, on any given night, two million people are staying in Airbnb rentals somewhere in the world. Safety requirements vary across jurisdictions and not all facilities are regulated. Two new infographics that NFPA created in partnership with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Neighborhood Safety Network give tips for landlords and renters designed to create a safer rental.

 

NFPA teamed up with Domino’s yesterday to kick off our joint Fire Prevention Week program in coordination with the Flint Fire Department. Sixty-five first graders from a local elementary school in Flint, Michigan were invited to the station, where they learned about key home escape planning and practice messages highlighted in this year’s campaign, "Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practice your escape.”  The students were also treated to a visit from Sparky the Fire Dog and a pizza party.

 

A huge thanks to the Flint Fire Department for all their help and enthusiasm in support of this year’s program – as always, they did an amazing job helping make the event a true success. Also, thank you to all the local Domino's and fire departments nationwide teaming up to bring the program to life in their communities. Participation continues to grow each year, which reflects its fun, engaging approach to educating people about basic but critical home fire safety messages.

 

Here's how Domino's Fire Prevention Week program works: Customers who place an order from participating Domino's stores during Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12, are randomly selected to receive their delivery from the local fire department, who will conduct a smoke alarm check in the customer's home. If the smoke alarms in the home are working, the delivery is free. If they're not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or install fully-functioning

alarms.

 

The NFPA Public Education Network is made up of fire and life safety education representatives for every state and province who disseminate NFPA information to fire safety educators throughout their state or province. 

Periodically, NFPA will be highlighting success stories from network members. In this post we feature Fire Prevention Coordinator Stephanie Stafford, Oregon State Police/ Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Stephanie Stafford, Oregon - Member of the NFPA Public Education Network

When asked to identify a success in her state in terms of fire and life safety, Stephanie Stafford cites the smoke alarm/carbon monoxide (CO) alarm program, which provides training to real estate agents and property managers on the law.

“When a home is sold in Oregon it has to have adequate protection. We’re educating real estate agents so that when they’re working with clients they make sure that they have the proper smoke alarms and CO alarms installed in their homes.”

She also said that she and her colleagues work with landlords to make sure they are providing adequate smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in rental properties as required by law.

Different strategies are used to reach the audience. “We train real estate associations, so it’s a group of realtors in the local county or jurisdiction, or we’ll train a real estate agency and all of their staff.”

Another approach is regional trainings. These are scheduled throughout the state and then marketed to all of the agencies in that area.

Stafford considers the program a “win-win.” “It helps real estate agents earn continuing education units and it ensures that we have more homes with adequate protection.”

 

 

Church Steeple

Places of worship are known for their open-door policy, welcoming all. They are also known for their rituals that often involve candles, and celebrations and socials that include food preparation. National Church Safety Month is a time for heightening awareness on preventing fires and injuries and reviewing ways to be secure in the worship setting.

Cooking Safety

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking or have someone else monitor what’s cooking if you have to step away.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire–oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains–away from the stovetop.
  • If you have a small grease fire and decide to fight the fire, smother the flames by sliding a lid on the pan and turning off the burner. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If you have any doubts about fighting a small fire, just get out and have everyone else in the building evacuate. Call 9-1-1 from outdoors.

Candles Safety

  • Candles should be placed in a sturdy candle holder.
  • Handheld candles should not be passed from one person to another at any time.
  • Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire.
  • If a candle must burn continuously, enclose it in a glass container and place it in a sink, or on a metal tray, or in a deep basin filled with water.
  • Places of worship should be equipped with a fire detection and sprinkler system.

Safety in Public Assembly

Before you enter the building

  • Take a good look at it. Does it appear to be in a condition that makes you feel comfortable.
  • Have a communication plan, identifying a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency or if you become separated.
  • Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends in an emergency.

When you enter the building

  • Locate the exits.
  • Check for clear exit paths. Make sure aisles are wide enough and not blocked by chairs or other furnishings
  • React immediately if the fire alarm system sounds or you notice some other unusual disturbance, immediately exit the building in orderly fashion.

For more precautions for places of worship check out NFPA’s Safety in Places of Public Assembly, Religious Safety, and Cooking Safety tip sheets.

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