This year, Waterloo Fire Rescue is anticipating more families will be celebrating Halloween from home as everyone is still faced with the COVID-19 pandemic.
With that in mind, the service has fire safety tips for families enjoying the spooky day from home.
"Instead of using real candles we recommend everyone use battery-operated candles instead, or flashlights, or glow sticks, while the children try to find tricks or treats inside the house," said John Percy, Public Education Officer, Waterloo Fire Rescue.
Percy mentioned that the leading cause of fires within the home is unattended cooking, so for families watching Halloween movies with popcorn on the side, it is important that someone stay near the microwave.
"We just want to remind everyone that if they are going to make popcorn, especially in the microwave, it is very important to watch the time on the microwave, because a lot of popcorn products have oil in them, and they can ignite in the microwave."
He added everyone should know 'stop, drop and roll' and children wearing a costume inside the house must keep away from stoves, ovens, and fireplaces.
Other fire safety tips include:
- Test your smoke alarms to make sure they work. In case a fire starts in your home, you need to know right away. This is also a great time to buy fresh batteries for your home smoke alarms.
- Choose safer alternatives for lighting like battery-operated candles, flashlights, and glow sticks instead of candles in carved pumpkins and other Halloween decorations.
- Purchase or make Halloween costumes (including wigs and props) labeled flame-resistant or flame-retardant. Choose materials that won't easily ignite and avoid billowing or long trailing features.
- Keep dried flowers, cornstalks, and other decorations away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
- Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, to ensure nothing blocks your escape routes in the event of a fire.
- Make sure that children know to "stop, drop and roll" if their clothing does catch fire. (Stop immediately, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, and roll over and over to extinguish flames.)
- Provide children with lightweight battery-operated flashlights or glowsticks to carry for lighting or as part of their costume.
- Extension cords are for temporary use only. Use the right one for the job -- there are special extension cords rated for outdoor use.
- Never overload electrical outlets by plugging in too many plugs - use an approved power bar.
- If you must use candles, never leave them unattended and keep them well away from children, pets, and anything that can burn.