NOTTINGHAM, MD—Even as parents and caregivers continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, Halloween is still one of the most exciting nights of the year.
This year’s festivities will look a bit different and call for creative alternatives that are both fun and follow local COVID-19 guidelines and recommendations. Regardless of how Marylanders choose to celebrate this Halloween, State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci recommends several fire and life safety tips to help everyone enjoy a safe Halloween.
“Planning ahead can help make this and every Halloween fire safe,” said Geraci. “Taking simple fire and life safety precautions, like making sure fabrics for costumes and decorative materials are flame-resistant, can prevent fires and avoid needless burn injuries”.
State Fire Marshal Geraci provides these sensible Halloween fire & life safety tips:
· Pick costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure costumes are short enough to prevent tripping and ensure masks don’t block vision.
· Consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat containers for greater visibility.
· Purchase only costumes, wigs, and props labeled flame-resistant or flame-retardant. When creating a costume, choose materials that will not easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame.
· Provide children with flashlights or glow sticks to carry for lighting or as part of their costume.
· Use flashlights or glow sticks as alternatives to candles or incandescent lights when decorating walkways or yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters whose costumes may brush against the decoration.
· Always supervise children as they go trick-or-treating.
· Remember to keep exits clear of decorations ensuring nothing blocks escape routes from home.
· Instruct children to stay away from open flames or other heat sources. Be sure children know how to stop, drop, and roll in the event their clothing catches on fire. (Stop immediately, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, roll over and over to extinguish the flames).
· If you are walking with pets, consider using a leash with reflective material attached.
· Instruct children attending parties at others’ homes to locate the exits and plan how they would get out if an emergency occurred.
· When decorating inside the home, consider using battery-operated candles instead of burning regular candles to help eliminate the potential of a fire occurring.
· Do not overload electrical outlets and extension cords. Excessive use of extension cords may cause overheating and also become trip hazards.
· Replace frayed, cracked, or otherwise damaged electrical cords.
· Don’t overload electrical circuits.
State Fire Marshal Geraci offers one additional tip that could well be the most important.
“Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These devices are very effective fire safety tools in preventing injury or death from fire and carbon monoxide.”