Don’t let Halloween safety give you a fright; just keep it simple.

Halloween is a week away, and with it, the rush to find the perfect costume, that great pumpkin, and just the right decorations for your home. Hidden within all this fun and excitement are potential fire hazards and the Columbia Fire Department wants to remind everyone about some simple Halloween safety tips to help avoid seasonal hazards.

During the years 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 840 home structure fires annually that began with decorations. These fires caused an average of 2 civilian deaths, 36 civilian injuries, and $11.4 million in direct property damage per year. Almost half (45%) of these fires were tied to decorations being too close to some type of heat source, such as a candle. A fire can start when candles are too close to decorations or when long, trailing costumes come into contact with candles.

To keep your little trick-or-treaters and your home fire safe this Halloween follow these safety tips:

  • Candles – Refrain from having an open flame. Use battery-operated candles or glow-sticks in your jack-o-lanterns.
  • Costumes – Choose the right costume. Stay away from long or flowing fabric, and skip extraneous costume pieces.
  • Decorations – Avoid flammable decorations including dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper that are highly flammable. Keep decorations away from open flames and other heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
  • Exits – Remember to keep all decorations away from doors so that they are not blocking any exits or escape routes.
  • Smoke alarms – Make sure all of your smoke alarms are working and up to date.
  • Visibility – Provide flashlights to children or have them carry glow sticks as part of their costumes. Make sure if a child is wearing a mask that the eye holes are large enough to see out of them.

The Columbia Fire Department encourages families to take part in safe alternatives for young trick-or-treaters, like Dutch Fork Fire & Rescue (Station 20) annual Halloween Festival at Station 20, 10727 Broad River Road on Tuesday, October 31st from 5pm-9pm or the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department’s FREE Spooktacular Halloween Party.  This event will be held on Tuesday, October 31st from 5pm-9pm at Dutch Square Mall, 421 Bush River Road (see attached flyer).