27 October 2010

With 31st October just around the corner, Northamptonshire County Council's fire and rescue service is reminding people about some important fire safety messages to help them stay safe at Halloween.

Every year at Halloween, adults and children are injured in accidents where lighted candles or fireworks have ignited flammable costumes and hair. Plastic capes and bin liners, often used as costumes, are also fire risks.

Homemade lanterns made from hollowed pumpkins and candles are also extremely hazardous. If the candle tips over, it could set light to materials such as costumes, curtains, clothes, and furniture, and start a serious fire.

Lanterns should never be made from plastic bottles or other containers, which are very dangerous and if handled carelessly could result in burns and also cause a fire. There is also the danger that the previous contents of the bottle may be combustible.

Cara Payne, Community Fire Safety Supervisor, said: "Whilst we don’t want to stop people enjoying Halloween, we do want them to celebrate safely by following some simple advice both in the run up to the day, and on the 31st October itself.

"Although Halloween is traditionally a time for spooky behaviour and frightening fun, there is absolutely nothing more terrifying than having a fire at home or seeing your clothes catch alight.

"We are asking parents to think very carefully about the fire risks before encouraging children to make their own Halloween lanterns. We also want to encourage parents to only buy Halloween costumes and masks which are labelled as flame resistant. Children should be kept away from naked flames at all times."

Any people thinking of decorating their home with lighting or special effects, should take extra care not to overload electrical sockets. Cara said: "Decorative lights should always be switched off at the mains last thing at night or if the bulbs need to be changed.

"Most importantly, however, homes should be fitted with smoke alarms all year round, which should be checked regularly, to provide life-saving early warning if a fire does occur."

For more fire safety advice, people can contact the Community Fire Safety team on 01604 797000.