County Fire Marshal offers fire safety tips

FREEHOLD, NJ – Halloween is a fun and spooky time for kids, but Monmouth County Fire Marshal Henry A. Stryker III reminds residents that it is also a time to practice fire safety.

“If you buy a costume, make sure the label says ‘Flame-Retardant’,” said Stryker. “Flame-retardant means the costume will be hard to catch on fire and if it does, the fire will go out fast.”

“If you make a costume, try not to make one that is big and baggy so that the material isn’t likely to touch candles or other flames,” added Freeholder John P. Curley, liaison to the CountyFire Marshal’s Office. “Use flame-retardant fabrics.  These materials will resist burning if exposed to a flame.”

For a safe and happy Halloween follow these tips:

  • Tell kids to stay away from candles and jack-o'-lanterns that may be on steps and porches.  Their costumes could catch fire if they get too close.
  • Kids should never carry candles when they are trick-or-treating.  Always use a flashlight, flameless candle or light stick.
  • Tell kids to let you know right away if they see other kids playing with matches or lighters.
  • Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for the latest on Halloween-related consumer product recalls.
  • If you have a Halloween party, check for cigarettes under furniture cushions and in areas where people were smoking before you go to bed.
  • Remove any materials around your home or property, such as garbage or excess vegetation, which could accelerate a fire. 

During the five-year-period of 2006-2010, the National Fire Protection Association estimates that decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 1,000 reported home structure fires per year. These fires caused an estimated average of six civilian deaths, 53 civilian injuries and $16 million in direct property damage per year

“Don’t use candles for decorations, they’re dangerous, especially when left unattended,” Stryker said. “Use only decorative lights tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.  Throw away damaged sets and don't overload extension cords.”