TRENTON, NJ – Halloween is a festive time in New Jersey for adults and children alike. Like all holidays, it is best enjoyed when health and safety are a priority. As Halloween approaches, the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety (NJDFS) is asking everyone to stay alert to the fire hazards this holiday can present, which can be scarier than any ghosts or skeletons.
“Halloween 2020 was basically lost due to the pandemic, so we know everyone is itching to get out and fully celebrate the holiday like they did pre-COVID,” said New Jersey State Fire Marshal Richard Mikutsky. “We want everyone to be mindful that Halloween can present the same fire safety hazards once again.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an annual average of 770 home structure fires began with decorations between 2014 and 2018, resulting in an annual average of two civilian fire deaths, 30 civilian fire injuries, and $11 million in direct property damage. More than two of every five (44 percent) of these fires occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source, such as a candle or hot equipment.
NFPA offers these tips and guidelines for enjoying a fire-safe Halloween:
· Decorations: Many common decorations like cornstalks, crepe paper, and dried flowers are very flammable. Keep these and similar decorations far away from any open flames or heat sources, like candles, heaters, and light bulbs.
· Candles: Using candles as decoration can be risky if not done correctly. Keep them in a well- attended area out of the path of potential trick-or-treaters. Remind children of the dangers of open flames, and make sure they are always supervised when candles are lit. Extinguish candles before leaving an area.
· Jack-o-lanterns: Glow sticks or electric candles are the safest choice when it comes to lighting up your jack-o-lantern, but if you choose to use a real candle, do so with extreme caution. Light a candle inside a jack-o-lantern using long fireplace matches or a utility lighter and keep it away from other decorations.
· Costumes: Avoid fabric that billows or trails behind you, as these can easily ignite. If you are making your own costume, avoid loosely woven fabrics like linen and cotton, which can be very flammable.
· Visibility: Give children flashlights or glowsticks for lighting; these can even be incorporated into the costume. If your child has a mask, ensure the eye holes are large enough for them to see clearly.
· Smoke Alarms: This is a great time to make sure your smoke alarms are functional and up to date.
· Exits: Exits are NOT an appropriate place for decorations. When decorating, ensure that nothing is blocking any escape routes.
“While still keeping an eye towards fire safety, we can all have a happy and fun-filled Halloween weekend throughout New Jersey,” said State Fire Marshal Mikutsky.
The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing community risk reduction and firefighter training programs.
DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including local government management and finance, affordable housing production, fire safety, building safety, community planning and development, and disaster recovery and mitigation.
For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media: