ST. PAUL — The flame that flickers eerily on the front porch can signal costumed kids that a house is open for Trick-or-Treating, but it can also be a disaster for a child in the wrong costume. The Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division reminds homeowners that even interior decorations can pose a threat if they include lit candles.
“More than 3,000 people end up in emergency rooms every Halloween because of candle-related injuries,” says Becki White, Deputy State Fire Marshal. “But Halloween is supposed to be fun, and with a few simple precautions, you can keep it that way.”
Follow these tips to make sure little goblins stay safe:
- When carving pumpkins, cut out the bottom instead of the top. Remove the contents and place the pumpkin on a flat surface over a battery-operated, flameless candle. Even if a real candle is used, the pumpkin will have a flat, stable bottom so it won’t roll away.
- Avoid loose-fitting, flowing costumes, and look for labels that indicate flame-resistant materials. Next-best are costumes made of polyester or nylon since these fabrics extinguish easily.
- Use flameless candles or glow-sticks in candy buckets or bags. It creates a glow that drivers can see from a distance. Glow-sticks can also go around a child’s neck or arms.
- Teach trick-or-treaters to be careful around pumpkins and porch decorations. Tell them to look for — and avoid — lit candles.
- Don’t use real candles or other open flames inside or outside if there will be children present. If you choose to use candles, place them away from curtains and decorations, in places where guests will not get close enough to endanger themselves.
“Candles and decorations make Halloween spookier, but accidents can make it truly horrifying. Take the right precautions and have a great time,” White says.
EDITOR NOTE: Sound and video from Becki White available at this link: http://youtu.be/HlzM5myoARE
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling enforcement, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: enforcement, education and prevention.
The State Fire Marshal Division fosters a fire-safe environment through fire/arson investigation, code development and enforcement, regulation, data collection and public education.