Make holiday a fire-safe one

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 24, 2002

Suffolk Fire Department

The City of Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue Fire Prevention/Education Bureau reminds everyone that planning ahead can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one. Even simple fire safety precautions, like making sure fabrics for costumes and decorative materials are flame-resistant, can go a long way to help prevent fires or fire related injuries.

In a report from the National Fire Prevention Association, decorations for special events accounted for an annual average of 1,000 home fires in the United States, most often involving candles, and causing two civilian deaths and $6.8 million in direct property damage per year from 1993-1998. More than 100 people die each year as a result of their clothing becoming ignited.

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Here are some tips to help you keep your little &uot;ghosts and goblins&uot; safe this Halloween.

– Purchase only costumes, wigs and props labeled flame-resistantor flame-retardant. When creating a costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Avoid billowing or long trailing features.

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

– Use extreme caution when decorating with candles, and supervise children at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-O-Lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches and be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from all combustible items. Pumpkins can also be illuminated with small, inexpensive flashlights.

– Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, ensuring nothing blocks escape routes.

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

– Instruct children to stay away from open flames or other heat sources. Be sure children know how to stop, drop and roll in the event their clothing catches fire. (Stop immediately, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, and roll over and over to extinguish flames.)

– Instruct children who are attending parties at others’ homes to locate the exits and plan how they would get out in an emergency.

– Provide children with lightweight flashlights to carry for lighting or as part of their costume.