Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is urging families to remember Halloween for the right reasons this year and be alert to the fire risks from wearing Halloween costumes.
Halloween is going to be very different this year due to COVID-19 and local restrictions, but many families will still be getting into the spooky spirit with decorations, pumpkins and fancy dress costumes.
Wearing a Halloween costume is great fun but remember, the outfit you have on could easily catch fire from naked flames you may be near such as candles, fires, lighters and matches.
This is especially important with fancy dress costumes as many are not manufactured to the same safety standards as normal clothing, meaning they can ignite almost instantly and burn far faster. That’s why it is crucial to ensure children wearing Halloween costumes are kept well away from naked flames and other heat sources at all times.
If you are using Halloween pumpkins, take extra care when lighting them and ensure that no loose clothing is near them at any time, particularly when they are being moved or carried. Use LED battery-operated tea lights, which do not have a live flame, as opposed to normal tea lights and candles.
If you are putting up Halloween decorations, make sure they are placed well away from naked flames or heat sources, and make sure decorations don’t block any escape routes should a fire occur.
Make sure children are never left alone with candles and if you are using an open fire during the Halloween festivities, always use a fire guard.
Joe Cunliffe, Station Manager for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We want everyone to enjoy Halloween as safely as possible. This year, with emergency services already under immense pressure due to COVID-19, it’s even more important that we all do our bit to stay safe.
“We urge people to be careful of how they dress – some costumes bought in shops can be flammable so labels should be checked to see how fire resistant costumes are. Keep clear of all flames such as candles and lit pumpkins, which could cause burns or costumes to catch fire.
“In the build up to Halloween, think about ways to have fun with the family without compromising on safety. Simple changes like swapping ordinary candles and tea lights for LED battery-operated ones can be the difference between a night of fun and a night of disaster.
“Loose clothing can very easily catch fire when lighting pumpkins using candles and matches, but LED candles mean you can still show off your creative carvings without the risk of burns and fire. Remember, if you are using LED candles, make sure the batteries cannot be accessed by children and pets.
“If you do use real candles, never leave children alone with them and make sure they are extinguished before leaving the room. If the unthinkable happens and clothing does catch fire, remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL; STOP where you are, do not run. DROP to the ground and lie down flat. ROLL over and over on the ground until the flames are out.
“And remember, no matter what your plans are this Halloween, make sure you have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home. Consider fitting additional alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances or near sleeping areas. Test your smoke alarms every week.”
For fire safety advice, or if you do not have working smoke alarms in your property, call 0800 731 5958. For more tips on staying safe this Halloween & Bonfire, check out Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s Facebook (@MerseyFire), Twitter (@MerseyFire), Instagram (@Mersey_Fire) and YouTube (@MerseyFire) or visit www.merseyfire.gov.uk