With Halloween around the corner, parents and children everywhere are creating costumes, decorating the house, and attending parties. This is a time of year for lots of fun and the collecting of treats, but it’s also important to maintain safety now and throughout the holiday season.
We’ve previously written about ways to be safe around Halloween. While Halloween pedestrian safety, candy safety, and overall safety with children are very important topics, another issue to consider is fire safety around the home. As we mentioned in a previous insurance claims article, fires are the most expensive type of property damage claims, and many of home fires can cause injury or death.
This Halloween, make sure to avoid a truly frightening home fire scenario with these tips and reminders.
Pay Attention to the Location of Your Decorations
From 2009-2013, home decorations were the first item ignited in an average of 860 reported home fires per year. Half of all these fires were caused when decorations were placed too close to a heat source. These types of fires have resulted in deaths and about $13 million in direct property damage per year.
The moral of the story is to keep all decorations away from heat sources in the home, especially burning candles. If possible, use battery-operated jack-o-lantern candles and other decorations that contain a light source. Closely consider the location of extra-flammable decorations such as dried leaves and keep them away from any source of direct heat.
Kids, Costumes, and Fire Safety
Kids love to dress up on Halloween and everyone enjoys sharing their scary and creative character choices. However, some costumes may present a fire hazard if the child is not paying attention to his or her surroundings. Costumes with flowing material or tails may present an extra fire hazard. Properties may have candles burning in their yard or throughout the house, which could be a problem if the costume gets too close to the flame as kids run around the neighborhood. Consider costumes without excessive material to keep the fire risk low.
Additionally, talk to your kids about staying away from open flames as they trick-or-treat or attend Halloween parties. Ensure that they know the drill to stop, drop, and roll if they ever find themselves in a situation where their clothing has caught fire.
If you choose to use candles in your home, do so with safety as a number one concern. Make sure all candles are on a sturdy surface away from any fabric that could catch fire such as curtains or furniture. Do not ever leave a candle unattended or a child unattended in a room with a burning candle. Blow out each candle that you are not monitoring and never use candles if there is an additional oxygen source in the home.
Keeping Your Home Safe
Most importantly, check each smoke detector in your home to ensure that all of them are in proper working condition before the holidays. Keep exits clear of decorations, especially if you plan on having people over for a gathering. Teach your kids to be aware of their surroundings in other homes by finding the nearest exit in the room where they are located and to alert an adult if they smell smoke.
Holiday fires are scary in a real way but can be prevented with extra precaution and safety considerations. If you do experience a fire in your home, contact an attorney prior to contacting your insurance company.
We wish everyone in the community a safe and enjoyable Halloween and holiday season!
Halloween safety. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Seasonal-fires/Halloween-safety