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.
Currently, children’s fancy dress costumes are classified as toys, rather than clothes, and are not covered by the same safety regulations – therefore, there is no requirement for them to be fire proofed or fire retardant. The Chief Fire Officers’ Association has called for this classification to be changed, so that fancy dress costumes are subject to the same safety standards as children’s nightclothes.
Area Manager Seth Why 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 your clothes catch fire.”
The following top tips will help you reduce your fire risk this Halloween:
- Keep all fancy dress costumes away from naked flames.
- Use LED candles in pumpkins – they don’t blow out and they are much safer.
- Check the labels on any fancy dress outfits you buy for fire resistance and a registered trademark – remember, cheaper products are more likely to be counterfeit and could burn quickly if they caught fire.
- Burns and scalds last a lifetime. Remember, if clothing does catch fire, ‘stop, drop and roll’ until the fire is out. In an emergency, cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.
- If you must 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, cushions 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.
The Service is also advising people to plan ahead for Bonfire Night, by being aware of the Fireworks Code. Further information can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/fireworks