Safety warning ahead of Halloween to ensure it’s enjoyed by all

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to not let Halloween become scary for all the wrong reasons.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service
© Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue

Every year on 31 October, children and adults are injured in accidents where candles or fireworks have set fire to costumes and hair. Plastic capes and bin liners, often used as costumes, are also fire risks.

Currently, children’s fancy dress costumes are classified as toys, rather than clothes, and are not covered by the same safety regulations – therefore, there is no requirement for them to be fire proofed or fire retardant.

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The Chief Fire Officers’ Association has called for this classification to be changed, so that fancy dress costumes are subject to the same safety standards as children’s nightclothes.

Group Manager Karen Adams said: “We don’t want to stop people enjoying Halloween, but we do want them to celebrate safely. There is nothing more terrifying than having a fire at home or seeing your clothes catch fire. Please also follow the advice from our police and council colleagues and don’t frighten and annoy residents by being anti-social.”

The following top tips will help you reduce your fire risk this Halloween:

  • If you’re making homemade lanterns, think carefully about the fire risks – particularly the possibility of the candle falling over. It is far safer to use flickering LED candles than real candles in pumpkins and as part of displays.
  • Lanterns should never be made from plastic bottles or other plastic containers.
  • Make sure that fancy dress costumes and masks are labelled as flame-resistant.
  • Don’t use flammable materials to make home-made costumes. Be especially careful about using bin liners as capes.
  • Keep children away from naked flames and don’t let them carry lit candles or lanterns with candles in them.
  • If you use candles, make sure they are securely placed in a correct holder and in a place where they are not likely to be knocked over. Keep them away from curtains, cushions and draughts.
  • Make sure candles are extinguished when you go to bed.
  • If you are using decorative lights in your home, ensure that electricity sockets are not overloaded and that they’re switched off at the socket at night.

The Service is also advising people to plan ahead for Bonfire Night, by being aware of the Fireworks Code. Further information can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/safetyoutdoors