Did you know that an estimated 10,100 fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. from 2014-2016 over a three-day period around Halloween? These fires caused 30 deaths, 125 injuries, and $102 million in property loss.

Halloween is a holiday for spooky surprises and tasty treats, but it’s also a holiday with hidden and uncommon fire dangers. Stay safe this Halloween by recognizing some the top, and most surprising, fire dangers associated with this beloved fall holiday.

Cooking fires 

Even during Halloween, cooking is still the leading cause of residential fires. FEMA reports that between the years of 2014-2016, the top cause of Halloween residential fires were cooking (53 percent). This was followed by heating (11 percent), careless actions (6 percent), and electrical malfunctions (6 percent). The same report found most Halloween fires occur in late afternoon and early evening hours, around the time many people are cooking dinner in their kitchens. The reason for this increased risk around the holiday could be attributed to unattended cooking, or distractions in the kitchen. Maybe there are trick-or-treaters at the door, or you’re hosting a party. Either way, be aware that cooking fires can be a major source of fire emergencies on Halloween.

Halloween décor dangers

All of those gauzy ghosts, fabric pumpkins, and fog machines make for excellent Halloween décor, but they also make for the ideal fire hazard. Other popular fall decorations like cornstalks and crepe paper are also highly flammable. The NFPA recommends that people keep all decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources. This includes light bulbs, candles, and heaters. Halloween lights can also be fire hazards. Be sure to only use lights meant to be used for indoor/outdoor depending on your use. Inspect all lights and extension cords before use.

Decorations can also block exits or escape routes. This is especially dangerous from a fire safety perspective, and a code violation for commercial buildings. Never use decorations near or around exits or windows in a way that would prevent someone from accessing and escaping through that exit.

Pumpkin carving catastrophes

 Carving a pumpkin is an annual Halloween tradition for many families. And what better moment than when you carved the perfect pumpkin and pop a light inside to reveal the spooky results of your masterpiece. Many people use traditional candles to light up pumpkins, but an open flame left outdoors unattended brings a host of fire dangers. Flammable materials like dry leaves may fly in or near the lit pumpkin, causing a fire. Someone (even animals) may kick or knock down the pumpkin, exposing the open flame to surrounding flammable materials like a wooden deck or other décor. Costumes can also catch fire if the fabric gets too close to the flame in the pumpkin. To avoid all of these fire hazards, consider using battery-powered candles or glow sticks. And if you choose to use a candle, never leave the pumpkin unattended and keep it away from all flammable materials as much as possible. Halloween fire dangers are everywhere, so be aware this season!

Fire Systems, Inc.

Fire Systems is an Atlanta-based fire protection company that has been servicing the southeast for over three decades. We specialize in fire sprinkler systems, suppression, fire alarm, vehicle suppression, and more. Our goal is to keep you and your business safe and complaint this holiday season, and all season long. We offer employee fire extinguisher training as well as training on all fire protection systems installed in your building. Call us today at 770-333-7979 or visit our website for more information.