National Fire Prevention Week just passed, and we’re heading to October 31 and all its trick-or-treating fun.
Halloween presents its own set of risks, however, and we should think of special ways to protect our homes, loved ones and property. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), among the fire risks are traditional Halloween paraphernalia and activities:
- Glowing jack-o-lanterns (sometimes with candles inside)
- Paper ghosts and dried corn husk decorations
- Children running about in costumes
Regrettably, even a small accident, such as a Halloween decoration coming near a fireplace or open flames, can result in serious property damage, or worse.
Fire a Threat on Halloween and Year-Round
The simple truth is, fire remains a deadly threat in New England, as it does nationally, even without the added risks of Halloween celebrations. Earlier this month, a fire in a wood-frame house in Brockton, Massachusetts, left a man dead.
And in Barnstable, Massachusetts, fire engulfed a house, destroying 75 percent of the structure and leaving it a wreck. Luckily, no one was inside the home, and firefighters knocked the blaze down in 90 minutes. Nevertheless, the flame left an estimated $520,000 loss.
Make Oct. 31 Fun and Safe
Luckily, there are concrete steps we can take to reduce Halloween celebration risks, courtesy of the NFPA. They include:
- Don’t use a candle to illuminate your jack-o-lanterns: try a battery-operated candle or glow stick instead
- Avoid costumes with long trailing fabrics
- Instruct children about avoiding open flames — including candle-illuminated jack-o-lanterns
- Decorations such as scarecrows, dried flowers, cornstalks, crepe paper and the like are highly flammable — place them away from open flames, as well as other heat sources, such as light bulbs and heaters
- Distribute flashlights to children so they can see clearly (or give them glow sticks to light up their costumes)
- Make sure all house exits are decoration-clear (to avoid blocking escape routes)
- Check that the smoke alarms are all working
To reduce fire risk even more, consider a professional, proven fire/smoke alarm installation and monitoring service. There are New England providers with central station operators watching 24/7 to protect homes and immediately guide first responders.
With these steps, you’ll make your Halloween, and the rest of the year, as worry- and danger- free as possible.