Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to not let Halloween become scary for all the wrong reasons.
Every year on 31 October, children and adults are injured in accidents where candles or fireworks have set fire to costumes and hair. Plastic capes and bin liners, often used as costumes, are also fire risks.
Prevention Delivery Manager Ian Hopkins said: “We don’t want to stop people enjoying Halloween, but we do want them to celebrate safely. There is nothing more terrifying than having a fire at home or seeing someone’s clothes catch fire.”
The following top tips will help you reduce your fire risk this Halloween:
- Buy from a reputable retailer– cheap or imported costumes may not meet UK safety standards and, at worst, may carry fake safety labelling.
- Layer up– wear clothes under dressing-up costumes, to give a layer of protection between the costume and your skin. This can help protect the skin in the event of a fire incident.
- Don’t let your child go near any ignition sources – sparklers can burn at up to 2,000 degrees Celsius.
- Replace candles in pumpkins with battery powered lights – these are cheap, they don’t blow out and are much safer.
- Teach your child to ‘stop, drop and roll’ in case their clothing does catch fire.
- In an emergency, cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.
- If you do use candles, make sure they are securely placed in a correct holder and in a place where they are not likely to be knocked over. Keep them away from curtains, other soft furnishings and draughts.
- Make sure candles are extinguished when you go to bed.
- If you are using decorative lights in your home, ensure that electricity sockets are not overloaded and that they’re switched off at the socket at night.
To encourage children to learn about celebrating Halloween and Bonfire Night safely, the Service is running a special competition, with the winner getting a VIP visit to a fire station!
Mr Hopkins said: “Our Education team have developed a special online resource, including a safety story read by Firefighter Paul. All children have to do is listen to the story, remember the safety messages, find the hidden words and ask an adult to send that sentence in by the deadline of 7 November.”
The online story and entry form can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/pumpkins-bonfires-and-fireworks