information provided by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (October 29, 2019) – Halloween is a fun time of the year for kids but can be scary without the proper precautions.
Costume safety tips
- When choosing a costume, make sure to stay away from long trailing fabric, and always ensure the fabric is flame resistant.
- If your child is wearing a mask, the eye holes need to be large enough to provide an unrestricted view. Encourage children to consider face paint instead of a mask, as this permits them to watch and listen for passing cars or other hazards.
- When trick-or-treating, have your children carry a flash flight to not only light their way, but to keep them visible as well. You can also incorporate glow sticks in their costumes to increase visibility.
“We want everyone to have a spooky but safe Halloween while keeping fire safety in mind,” said State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “Candles are popular during Halloween; make sure they are kept at a safe distance from decorations and out of reach of kids and pets.”
According to the National Fire Protection Alliance (NFPA) more than one-third of residential fires were started by candles. Decorations were the first thing to ignite in 780 reported home fires each year from 2013-2017. More than two of every five fires occurred because decorations were too close to a heat source, such as a candle or hot equipment. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when decorating.
Decorating safety tips
- Use battery-powered candles if possible. If you are using a real candle inside a jack-o-lantern, make sure to use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter.
- Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn, and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways, and yards.
- Keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Always check smoke alarms to make sure they are working.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
- Dried cornstalks, dried flowers, and paper decorations catch fire easily, so make sure to keep any open flames and heat sources—such has light bulbs—at a safe distance.
When driving on Halloween night or other nights trick-or-treaters could be out, be extra vigilant. Stay off cell phones and pay especially close attention to crosswalks and when driving on residential streets.