Keep Halloween ghosts and goblins safe

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Halloween night is upon us, and ghosts, goblins and other scary entities will be out demanding &uot;trick or treat&uot; as they roam the city in search of their bounty.

While they are busy planning for that special night, there are plenty of firefighters making plans of their own.

Captain Jim Judkins of Suffolk’s Fire Department said a little planning ahead could make this Halloween safe for children and adults alike.

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&uot;Even the simplest precautions like making sure Halloween costumes are made of flame resistant fabrics can go a long way in helping prevent fires and fire related injuries,&uot; said Judkins.

The captain added that a report from the National Fire Prevention Association shows that decorations for special events like Halloween account for an annual average of 1,000 home fires in the U.S.

&uot;Most of them involve candles and we’ve had two recently where people were burned out of their homes,&uot; he said.

&uot;On Oct. 15, the latest candle fire, there was a fire on Bosley Avenue and it was directly attributed to a candle left burning on a night stand. Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire but it did cause $15,000 in damages. Across the U.S., during the time from 1993 to 1998, two people died in fires caused by candles. Also, more than 100 people die each year as a result of their clothing becoming ignited.&uot;

Judkins also offered some tips to help keep little ghosts and goblins safe this Halloween. He said parents should be involved in creating a costume for their children.

&uot;You should purchase only costumes, wigs and props labeled flame-resistant because they won’t easily ignite if they do come into contact with flames,&uot; he said. &uot;Also, don’t purchase or make costumes with billowing or long trailing features.&uot;

Dried flowers, corn stalks and crepe paper are all highly flammable materials and Judkins said these decorations should be kept well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, candles, and heaters.

&uot;Use extreme caution when decorating with candles, and supervise children at all times where candles are lit,&uot; he said.

&uot;When lighting candles inside Jack-O-Lanterns (pumpkins), use long, fireplace-style matches and be sure to place all lit pumpkins well away from all combustible items. Actually, it’s best to illuminate pumpkins with small, inexpensive flashlights.&uot;

Children will attend parties to share the fun of Halloween, and Judkins said parents should talk with them before allowing them to leave home.

&uot;Instruct your children to stay away from open flames or other heat sources, and be sure they know the &uot;stop, drop, and roll’ procedure in the event their clothing should catch fire,&uot; said the captain.

&uot;Show them how to stop immediately, drop to the ground, covering their face with their hands, and roll over and over to extinguish flames. Also, most importantly, instruct your children to locate the exits and know how to escape the home if a fire breaks out.&uot;

For more information on Halloween safety, contact Capt. Judkins at 923-2110, or visit the fire department located on White Marsh Road.