|Note Halloween safety tips|
To protect children and yourself while participating in Halloween activities, plan ahead.
Decorations for special events, most often involving candles, account for an annual average of 10,000 fires, 120 deaths, and $10 million in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association's latest statistics.
Please consider the following guidelines to keep Halloween a fun, safe celebration:
- Purchase only those costumes, wigs and props labeled as flame resistant or retardant. When creating a costume, plan carefully to ensure that it won't easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Costumes should be made without billowing or long trailing features that present a higher risk of ignition or trip hazard. Avoid highly flammable fabrics and accessories.
- Costumes should be highly visible to prevent vehicle/pedestrian accidents. For dark colored costumes, use reflective tape or glow sticks to increase visibility.
- When planning party decorations, bear in mind that 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. Consider using flame retardant material in your decorations. The UND Safety and Environmental Health Office has flame retardant plastic sheeting and tape that can be purchased for departmental or student organization decorating purposes.
- Avoid decorating with candles. Pumpkins can be safely illuminated with small, inexpensive flashlights or try a mason jar filled with Christmas lights. Candles are not allowed in campus buildings.
- When decorating, remember to keep exits clear, ensuring that nothing blocks escape routes. Be sure children are supervised at all times.
- Be sure your yard is clear of obstacles and trip hazards or sharp objects while trick-or-treaters are out.
- Flashlights instead of candles or torch-lights in walkways and yards can be highly effective in creating a festive atmosphere. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
- Children and adults should stay away from open flames or other heat sources. Use the stop, drop and roll technique if clothing catches fire. Instruct children who are attending parties at other's 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. Planning ahead can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one.
- Inspect trick-or-treat candy before allowing your children to eat it.
For additional information on Halloween safety, contact the UND Safety and Environmental Health Office at 777-3341. -- Eric Pearson, field safety manager.