Jill Bronaugh
Communication Manager
Office of the State Fire Marshal
800 SW Jackson, Suite 104
Topeka, KS 66612-1216
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Press Releases

Halloween Fire Safety

Kevin Doel | Oct 18, 2016

As the end of another year comes upon us, the holiday season is just beginning.  One of many people’s favorite holidays is Halloween.  Kids get to dress up as their favorite super hero, or maybe a princess. Ghosts and goblins roam the streets, and hopefully there are more treats than tricks!  It’s not just the kids’ holiday…adults have just as much fun dressing up and decorating their houses and yards.  Glowing jack-o-lanterns, hay bales, cornstalks, bed sheet ghosts and much more make up a haunted Halloween neighborhood.


While all of these decorations are a part of a fun and harmless Halloween, they can also turn into something far more frightening that any ghost or zombie:  a fire.  According to the NFPA ( Fire Analysis & Research Division, during the five year period of 2006-2010, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 900 reported home structure fires per year.  Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heart source.  41% of these incidents were started by candles and began in the living room, family room, or den.  These fires caused an estimated average of one death, 41 injuries and $13 million in direct property damage per year. But with the proper precautions, your decorations can be the talk of the neighborhood for all of the right reasons!

· Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily.  Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources, such as light bulbs and candles.

· Use a battery-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns.  If you use real candles, use extreme caution.  Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit.  Be sure to place lit pumpkins away from anything that can burn and away from steps and walkways. 

· Keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.

· Make sure all smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are in good working condition.

· Make sure your family has a fire evacuation plan in place and that all children know the plan and where to meet.