Have a safe “trick-or-treat” night with NFPA’s Halloween safety tips

October 27, 2016 - Halloween is fast-approaching. It won’t be long until the children are wearing costumes and trick or treating for candy. Although this holiday is best known for fun, festivities and games, there are hidden fire hazards on Halloween, too. Fortunately, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has provided Halloween safety tips to ensure that trick-or-treating is safe.     

“Halloween is a very exciting holiday for children walking door-to-door collecting candy, and for adults whose homes are creatively outfitted with spooky decor,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Halloween, however, can have hazardous implications if the proper safety measures are not put in place ahead of time and during trick-of-treating.”

NFPA statistics show that from 2009-2013, an average of 860 home structure fires per year began with decorations. Almost half (45%) of these fires were tied to decorations being too close to some type of heat source, such as a candle. A fire can start when candles are too close to decorations or when long, trailing costumes come into contact with candles.

During 2009-2013, home structure fires that began with decorations caused an average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13 million in direct property damage per year. Almost two of every five (38%) of these decoration fires were started by candles. One-fifth (20%) of the home decoration fires started in the kitchen and one out of six (17%) started in the living room, family room, or den.

As a regular contributor for Martha Stewart Living, NFPA has posted “5 Crucial Halloween Fire Safety Tips You Can’t Afford to Miss” so that families can take preventative methods to be safe this holiday season.

NFPA also provides safety tips via a Halloween safety video (below) that emphasizes preparedness to ensure that costumes and decorations are flame-resistant. Preventative methods can and do reduce the risks associated with the Halloween holiday. 

NFPA Halloween safety tips that will make your night more of a treat and less of a trick include: 

Costumes

  • Choose the right costume. Try to stay away from long or flowing fabric.

Visibility

  • Provide flashlights to children or have children carry glow sticks as part of their costumes.
  • Make sure if a child is wearing a mask that the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out of them.

Decorations

  • Avoid flammable decorations including dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper that are highly flammable.
  • Keep decorations away from open flames and other heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.

 Candles

  • Refrain from having an open flame.
  • Use battery-operated candles or glow-sticks in your jack-o-lanterns.

Exits

  • Remember to keep all decorations away from doors so that they are not blocking any exits or escape routes.

Smoke Alarms

  • Make sure all of your smoke alarms are working and up to date.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275