Firefighters Want You to be Fire Safe While Enjoying Halloween Tricks & Treats

With families across our area getting ready to have a festive Halloween evening of costumes and candy, the Columbia-Richland Fire Department wants to remind everyone to avoid the fire-related dangers that can appear around the holiday.

Citizens are encouraged to avoid using open-flames as part of Halloween decorations and costumes and to use costumes with non-flammable materials.

“Dry materials like crepe paper should be avoid at all costs as they can easily ignite if they are placed near a heating source,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “Having a fire can turn your Halloween night scary for real so when at all possible use battery-powered decorations for lighting and avoid open flame candles.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association decorations are the first thing to ignite in roughly 800 home fires reported each year. More than one-third of those fires were started by a candle.

Additionally firefighters ask you to consider the following tips:

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eyeholes are large enough so he or she can see out.
  • Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.

  • Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
  • Extinguish candles by taking away oxygen from the wick. You can use a candlesnuffer to extinguish your candles or other non-combustible materials.  Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 1 foot (30 centimeters) away from anything that can burn.
  • Use candleholders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.

  • Put candleholders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.

Finally, NEVER ever leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle!  Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s reach, in a locked cabinet.

The Columbia-Richland Fire Department hopes that everyone has a scary yet safe 2022 Halloween!