Missoula firefighters offer up Halloween safety tips

Posted at 3:19 PM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 14:33:40-04
Halloween Pumpkins
(MTN News file photo)

MISSOULA – The Missoula Rural Fire District is offering up some safety tips as Halloween is quickly approaching.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following tips to avoid accidents this Halloween:

  • Make sure your child can see. Masks and costumes should never impair a child’s vision.
  • Use the buddy system when trick or treating. Older children should go out in groups, never alone. Younger children should go with a responsible adult.
  • Remind children to wait until they get home to eat their treats so that mom and dad have a chance to examine it first.
  •  See and be seen. Reflective costumes, flashlights, and glow sticks will make children more visible especially to drivers. Consider adding reflective tape to dark costumes.
  •  Always use the sidewalk and avoid cutting across yards and lawns. If no sidewalk is available, walk along the far edge of the road facing traffic.

MRFD points out that Halloween is a dangerous time for fires and burn injuries. The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) most recent statistics show that decorations were the first item to be ignited in an average of 860 reported home structure fires per year from 2009-2013.

Nearly half of all decoration fires in homes are the result of decorations being too close to a heat source and some 38% were started by candles.

MRFD suggests using the following tips from the NFPA to make your Halloween fire safe:

  • Costumes: When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame.
  • Flammable decorations: 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 and heaters.
  • Candles/jack-o-lanterns: It is safest to use a glow stick or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times. Do not leave them near flammable objects or where trick-or-treaters may walk. Remind your children to avoid open flames. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit.
  • Exits: Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.