Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to not let Halloween become scary for all the wrong reasons.
Every year on 31 October, children and adults are injured in accidents where candles or fireworks have set fire to costumes and hair. Plastic capes and bin liners, often used as costumes, are also fire risks.
Currently, children’s fancy dress costumes are classified as toys, rather than clothes, and are not covered by the same safety regulations – therefore, there is no requirement for them to be fire proofed or fire retardant. The National Fire Chiefs’ Council has called for this classification to be changed, so that fancy dress costumes are subject to the same safety standards as children’s nightclothes.
Prevention Delivery manager Ian Hopkins said: “We don’t want to stop people enjoying Halloween, but we do want them to celebrate safely. There is nothing more terrifying than having a fire at home or seeing your clothes catch fire.”
The following top tips will help you reduce your fire risk this Halloween:
- Check the labels – those attached to the product should show a CE Mark, which means it complies with EN71-2 and meets the European flammability resistant requirements for toys.
- You may wish to also look for swing labels which indicate the costume has undergone BRC’s additional tests. It will say “This garment has undergone additional safety testing for flammability” which is reassurance the costume is safer than legally required under EN71-2.
- Buy from a reputable retailer– cheap or imported costumes may not meet UK safety standards and, at worst, may carry fake safety labelling.
- Layer up– wear clothes under dressing up costumes, to give a layer of protection between the costume and your skin. This can help protect the skin in the event of a fire incident.
- Don’t let your child go near any ignition sources – sparklers can burn at up to 2,000 degrees Celsius.
- Replace candles in pumpkins with battery powered candles – these are cheap, they don’t blow out and are much safer.
- Teach your child to STOP, DROP and ROLL in the event thattheir clothing does catch fire.
- In an emergency, cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.
- If you must use candles, make sure they are securely placed in a correct holder and in a place where they are not likely to be knocked over. Keep them away from curtains, cushions and draughts.
- Make sure candles are extinguished when you go to bed.
- If you are using decorative lights in your home, ensure that electricity sockets are not overloaded and that they’re switched off at the socket at night.
The Service is also advising people to plan ahead for Bonfire Night, by being aware of the Fireworks Code. Further information can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/fireworks