Fire and security are important to keep in mind over the Halloween and Bonfire night celebrations. Statistics show that burglaries and domestic damages increase by 160% over Halloween, with bonfire night being the worst for burglar and car theft.
We have put together a few tips to help you and your family stay safe and secure as we enjoy the fireworks and parties.
Decorations and Lanterns
– Beware of exposed flames and candles in decorations. LED candles are a good alternative to open flames in pumpkins. Homemade lanterns made from hollowed pumpkins etc. can tip over and set light to materials such as costumes, curtains, clothes and furniture. Make sure all candles are in a proper holder and on a heat resistant surface.
– Lanterns should never be made from plastic bottles or other containers, carelessness could result in burns or fires. Always remember to never leave a candle unattended. Double check they are out and not smouldering.
– Ensure decorations are positioned away from naked flames – paper, fabric or false cobwebs could catch fire.
– Decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated 900 reported home structure fires per year.
– Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.
– 41% of decoration fires were caused by candles.
– Children’s Halloween costumes have been under attack recently due to clothing safety standards not being met. Children’s costumes are considered “toys” in fire testing categories, therefore not reaching the higher standard of clothing flammability regulations. Changes have been made by many of the large retailers and supermarkets, but it is still advisable to take precautions with children’s costumes. Try where possible to buy flame resistant materials.
– Plastic capes and bin liners are often used as costumes. Keep them away from candles and naked flames. By ensuring children wear clothes under their costumes, such as woollen tights and jumpers, creates a barrier between costume and the skin. This gives some protection if the costume was to catch fire.
– It is also better to wear make-up than a mask, particularly with children. Ill-fitting masks can reduce visibility, leading to trips and falls which can be extremely dangerous around candles and decorations.
– If the worst happens, remember ‘stop, drop and roll’. Allow the ground to suffocate the flames, not someone’s hands.
– Unfortunately it’s not just tricks and pranks, Halloween can also be the scene for real crime. Through costumes and disguises, burglars can work out if a house is empty for the evening. Many homes over Halloween may be empty and vulnerable as residents attend parties.
– Although the point of the night may be to be spooky, try to avoid having too many dark corners where burglars could hide.
– Do not let strangers into your home, even trick or treaters. Most people are of course genuine, but it is still better to be cautious of unknown callers – particularly late at night.
– Make sure you lock unattended doors and windows at all times so no one can sneak in while you are distracted.
– Lock up and set your alarm before you leave, don’t let the excitement distract you from keeping your home secure.
– Make your home look occupied, don’t advertise the fact that you are out and keep any valuables out of view of the windows.
– Ensure your shed and garages are secure and that your cars are not vulnerable to theft or damage.
– Protect your pets. Don’t leave them outside alone.
– Although it may be hard to tell suspicious behaviour from Halloween activity, try to watch out for yourself and your neighbours and alert them of any damage or unusual movement around their home.