Keep Halloween a night of treats, not trouble

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Halloween holiday decorations are fuel for more than 1,000 residential fires every year. Candles and holiday lights, along with unsafe or home-made porch decorations can create the opportunity for a preventable accident, said Beaufort Fire Chief Sammy Negron.
Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy agreed and added, “Have fun, but avoid mischief and stay with a group.”  The police department will have extra patrols on duty Halloween evening.
“As you prepare your home and family to have fun on Halloween, we want to help you keep it safe,” Negron said. “We would like for you and your families to enjoy lasting memories of good holidays, not memories of an accident that could have been prevented.”
Clancy recommended children wear some reflective materials and always walk facing traffic. Motorists may have a difficult time seeing small children so be extra careful — carrying a flashlight can help.
Capt. John Robinson, training and education officer with the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department, recommended keeping all combustibles at least three feet from any sources of heat.  Don’t overload electrical circuits with lights and never leave lit candles unattended, he said.
“For Halloween, most safety concerns are common sense, but when the kids get excited about their costumes and the candy, adults can become distracted and forget some of the basics,” Robinson said. “That can be a terrible oversight.”
Firefighters and police shared these additional safety tips for making Halloween a thrilling night to remember, in a good way:
Tips for kids
• NEVER go into a stranger’s house
• Always stay with an adult
• Have a flashlight that’s lit, especially when walking along streets and sidewalks
• Ensure you can see out of your costume
• Be careful crossing streets
• Don’t run — always walk
Tips for parents
• Stay with your children
• Check the Internet for offenders who may live nearby (www.bcso.net, click on “Offender Watch” in the upper left corner)
• When possible, add reflective tape to a dark-colored costume so that drivers can better see the youngsters
• Ensure your children’s costumes are treated with fire retardant
• Make sure you children know to “stop, drop and roll” in case their costume catches fire
• Check your children’s candy before they eat it
• Don’t visit homes without porch lights lit, and advise your children those houses are off-limits
Tips for your home
• Ensure your walkways and front yards are clear for visitors
• Don’t put lit pumpkins or lit candles near walkways or steps
• Use battery powered candles
• Prepare for all ages of visitors
• Use the time-tested technique of keeping on your porch light when you are entertaining trick-or-treaters and turn off your porch light when you are done.
If you would like to discuss fire prevention opportunities for your home or business please contact the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Departments at 843-525-7055 or city-fire@cityof beaufort.org.