Throughout the month of October, ServiceMaster has been observing Fire Prevention Month to spread awareness of the most common causes of house fires and provide tips on how to prevent them. October is also the month of Halloween in which decorations such as jack-o’-lanterns, dried cornstalks, and hay bales are out in front of homes with trick-or-treaters in costumes running from home to home. These decorations and the time honored tradition of trick-or-treating are what make Halloween a great holiday but there is also an inherent fire risk that can potentially become terrifying.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, holiday decorations were the cause of about 1,000 reported house fires per year between 2006 and 2010. For Halloween in particular, decorations often consist of candles as well as dried cornstalks and hay bales, costumes with trailing fabric, and other paper decorations that can easily catch fire if they come into contact with the flame from a candle or jack-o’-lantern. Many of the fires recorded by the National Fire Protection Association during these years were caused by flammable decorations that were too close to a candle or another heat source.
Halloween Fire Safety Tips
While these statistics may be scary, they should not discourage you from celebrating Halloween with your favorite costumes and decorations. Like most causes of house fires, many of the holiday decoration related fires are easily preventable. The following fire safety tips will help you prevent fires from decorations so that you and your family can have a festive and enjoyable Halloween.
- Make sure all potentially flammable decorations are away from open flames from fireplaces or candles as well as other heat sources such as space heaters and lightbulbs. Every exit in your home should be clear in case a fire does occur.
- Using a battery operated candle or glow stick for jack-o’-lanterns is a safe alternative but if you choose to use real candles, light them carefully with long fireplace matches or a utility lighter to avoid tipping the pumpkin. If there are children present around lit candles, they should be closely supervised. Jack-o’-lanterns with real candles should be put away from other potentially flammable materials and away from walkways used by trick-or-treaters.
- Avoid using candles or torch lights to decorate your yard or sidewalk and instead use flashlights. Decorations with an open flame can be hazardous as trick-or-treaters may brush against the flame with their costumes.
- Try and avoid costumes that include long trailing or billowing fabric. If your child’s costume includes a mask, cut the eye holes big enough so that your child can see where he is walking to avoid falls or brushing against a candle or open flame.
- Make sure your children understand the fire risks of candles and open flames and that they must avoid contact with these objects. It is a good idea to give them flashlights or glow sticks to use for lighting as they are trick-or-treating.
Halloween is a popular, festive holiday with many time honored traditions but the most common Halloween decorations have the potential to cause house fires. With these simple fire safety tips, you can help prevent fires caused by Halloween decorations for a safe holiday.
If your home is damaged by fire due to a mishap with your Halloween decorations, make sure that everyone around is safe and call for fire damage restoration services immediately to get your home cleaned and restored.