Keep Halloween safe by avoiding open flames and using battery operated tea lights to illuminate pumpkins and decorations

Tips help keep Halloween safe

It is the scariest kind of real-life Halloween story, but this one has a happy ending.

It is the scariest kind of real-life Halloween story, but this one has a happy ending.

A few years ago, a little girl was out trick or treating in Langley when the unthinkable happened: her costume came into contact with a jack-o-lantern and the candle inside set the material on fire.

She was only five years old, but when the flames started consuming her clothes, the child knew exactly what to do: she stopped immediately, dropped to the ground, covered her face with her hands, and rolled over and over to put out the flames.

While she had quite the scare, the young girl wasn’t injured, thanks to information she learned and practiced with Township of Langley firefighters. The stop, drop, and roll technique is taught to local school children by the Fire Department, along with other fire safety information, and Public Fire and Life Safety Educator Krista Barton said it is really rewarding to hear children are putting the potentially life-saving lessons to use.

“It only takes a few seconds to make a huge difference,” said Barton, who encourages parents to review the procedure with their kids and ensure they practice. “It is how they remember and learn,” she said, noting that children as young as three can benefit from fire safety lessons, such as how to recognize and respond to smoke alarms.

And with Halloween fast approaching, now is the time to take precautions and think about safety, to keep everyone in the family free from harm.

“Halloween should be spooky fun, not dangerous,” Barton said, adding that the worst offenders are open flames. Battery operated tea lights are the safest way to illuminate jack-o-lanterns. Those who insist on real candles should put them in proper containers such as jars, not leave them loose in the pumpkin, and keep them away from doors, walkways, and other areas where trick or treaters congregate.

Ensure all decorations are kept away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters. Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper catch fire very quickly. Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.

When dressed up, children should be able to walk freely in their costume and carry a flashlight or glow stick to enhance their visibility. Avoid long trailing fabrics and ensure eye holes in masks are large enough to see out of properly.

Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working, and if children are going to a Halloween party at someone else’s place, tell them to look for ways to get out and have a plan in case of an emergency.

For more information, call the Township of Langley Fire Department at 604-532-7500.