EDITORIAL: Be safe this Halloween

The Michigan Fire Marshal’s Office encourages families to take a few safety precautions to reduce fire risk and avoid burn injuries this Halloween where hidden dangers also come in disguise.

“On Halloween there’s a significant increase in home fires and burn-related injuries most commonly caused by candles igniting costumes and decorations,” said Ronald R. Farr, state fire marshal. “Make sure the costumes are flame-resistant and will not ignite easily. Don’t use candles to decorate inside or outside the home, and do have smoke alarms.”

Halloween is the fifth highest day of the year for candle fires according to the National Fire Protection Association. For safety sake, choose alternatives to burning candles by using flashlights, battery-operated candles or electric lights. Use flashlights in pumpkins rather than candles and keep holiday decorations, such as dried cornstalks, away from heat and open flames.

Each year, firefighters and paramedics deal with an increasing number of incidents on Halloween that easily can be prevented. Here are some tips to avoid frightful fire hazards:

  • Avoid baggy, billowing or oversized costumes that are dangerous around lit candles or open flames.
  • Avoid masks and over-the-head costumes which can impede vision or make removal difficult in the event of fire; use face paint or makeup instead.
  • Be sure children know how to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothing catches fire to smother spreading flames.
  • Use only decorative lights that have been tested and certified for safety.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords with holiday lighting or special effects.

Keeping children safe while trick-or-treating is one of utmost importance.

We wish everyone a happy, safe Halloween.

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