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Keep Halloween safe with a few fire safety tips

SPRINGVILLE — Halloween is hiding around the corner and bringing with it costumes, candy, jack-o’-lanterns and decorations. The National Fire Protection Association has reminded residents to take precautions to keep the holiday safe and enjoyable for everyone.

“Just about everyone loves a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to safety,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of outreach and advocacy. “Costumes with billowing or long, trailing fabric and candle decorations should be avoided, to keep fun events from turning into tragedies.”

From 2006-2010, decorations were the first items ignited in an estimated average of 1,000 reported home structure fires per year, resulting in an average six civilian deaths, 53 civilian injuries and $16 million in direct property damage.

From 2006-2010, United States fire departments responded to an estimated 11,640 home structure fires that were started by candles. These fires caused 126 deaths, 953 injuries and $438 million in direct property damage.

NFPA has offered safety tips to keep everyone safe this Halloween:

When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that will not easily ignite, if it comes into contact with heat or flame. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out. Many children’s costumes are now flame-retardant, so look for that label, when possible.

Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks, as part of their costume.

Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations far away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.

It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a jack-o’-lantern. If you use a real candle, use caution. Make sure children are supervised at all times, while candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o’-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins away from anything that can burn and away from trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards, to prevent igniting costumes or nearby plants.

If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them attended, at all times.

Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes in case of emergency.

Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll, if their clothing catches fire.

Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights, when decorating walkways and yards. They are safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.

NFPA is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1896, to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life, by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
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