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Safety Tips to Avoid A Nightmare This Halloween

As preparations for Halloween get underway, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is once again reminding people to stay safe and be aware of the increased risks associated with the upcoming autumnal celebration.  

At Halloween we see the increased risk of fire due to the use of candles and the danger associated with fancy-dress costumes catching fire if coming into close contact with a naked flame.  

Station Manager Nic Lacey said: “Halloween can be a fun time, but along with the celebrations comes the increased risk of fire due to the use of candles.  

“A carved pumpkin is a tradition that more and more people take part in, however a naked flame in a pumpkin can not only increase the risk of a fire in the home, but it can also present a danger to young children who pass close by wearing a flammable fancy dress costume.  

“We really want people to enjoy the spooky celebrations, but we want them to do it safely. Everyone can take some simple steps to stay safe including the use of battery-operated candles and by ensuring fancy dress costumes comply with safety standards.” 

In 2014 Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter Matilda was severely burned when the fancy-dress costume she was wearing caught fire after she passed close to a pumpkin when out trick or treating.  

Station Manager Lacey went onto say: “Although nationally instances of children's fancy dress costumes catching fire are rare, when they do the injuries sustained can be catastrophic.  

“I would therefore urge anyone buying a Halloween costume this year to ensure it is safe and also encourage everyone to ensure children know how to Stop, Drop and Roll so they are prepared if their clothing ever caught fire.” 

Our Top Tips for Staying Safe this Halloween 

  • Teach your child to STOP, DROP and ROLL to ensure they know what to do if their clothing ever caught fire. 

  • Keep children/fancy dress costumes away from naked flames such as tea lights in pumpkins and sparklers. Long hair and clothing, especially fancy-dress costumes are very flammable. 

  • Be aware that homemade fancy dress costumes may ignite easily and burn quicker as these are not tested to the same flammability standards as those with a CE or UKCA mark 

  • Ensure all Halloween costumes carry a CE or UKCA mark on the label. This means the manufacturer has checked that the costume meets the relevant safety standards 

  • Use battery operated candles/tea lights instead of traditional candles in pumpkins 

  • Minimise the risk of fire by using LED or battery-powered tea lights/candles in Halloween decorations 

  • Never leave tea lights and burning candles unattended 

  • Keep candles and tea lights out of reach of children and pets. Children should be supervised at all times when near flames 

  • Keep tea lights/candles a safe distance from curtains, furniture, and decorations at all times 

  • Remember to extinguish candles after use 

Ensure you have working smoke alarms fitted in your home.