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Halloween safety tips from Maryland Fire Marshal

Safety of CitizensHalloween

As Halloween approaches, you might be more concerned about your child's costume than safety, but the season does bring up some important issues to keep in mind.

Here are some Halloween fire safety tips from the Maryland State Fire Marshal:

•    Pick costumes that are bright and reflective.  Make sure costumes are short enough to prevent tripping and ensure masks don’t block vision.
•    Consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
•    Purchase only costumes, wigs and props labeled flame-resistant or flame-retardant.  When creating a costume, choose materials that will not easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame.
•    Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or as part of their costume.
•    Use flashlights or glow sticks as alternatives to candles or incandescent lights when decorating walkways or yards.  They are much safer for trick-or-treaters whose costumes may brush against the decoration.
•    Remember to keep exits clear of decorations ensuring nothing blocks escape routes from the home.
•    Instruct children to stay away from open flames or other heat sources.  Be sure children know how to stop, drop and roll in the event their clothing catches on fire.  (Stop immediately, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, roll over and over to extinguish the flames).
•    Instruct children who are attending parties at others’ homes to locate the exits and plan how they would get out if an emergency would occur.
•    Do not overload electrical outlets and extension cords.  Excessive use of extension cords may cause overheating and also become trip hazards.
•    Always supervise children as they go trick-or-treating.
•    If you are walking with pets, consider using a leash with reflective material attached.
•    When decorating inside the home, consider using battery operated candles instead of burning regular candles to help eliminate the potential of a fire occurring. 
•    Replace frayed, cracked or otherwise damaged electrical cords.
•    Limit use of extension cords and don’t overload electrical circuits.

The final tip from the fire marshal: "Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.  These devices are some of the most effective fire safety tools in preventing injury or death from fire and carbon monoxide," according to State Fire Marshal William E. Barnard. 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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