Firefighters remind parents to use electric candles this Halloween

Firefighters have urged parents to think twice about using candles this Halloween as they warn how costumes can go up in flames in a matter of seconds.

Mams and dads across Tyne and Wear may be making the last touches to their family’s Halloween plans ahead of a night of trick or treating on Tuesday.

But officers at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have today reminded parents how to keep their family safe on the spookiest night of the year.

A top tip is to use electric candles in your pumpkins instead of naked flames, due to just how flammable some Halloween costumes can be.

Many costumes are still classed as toys – meaning they are not subject to the same fire safety checks as every-day clothing.

In a string of fire safety tests at the Service’s Headquarters site in Washington, some costumes took just seconds to be engulfed in flames.

Station Manager Jonathan Ramanayake, of the Prevention and Education Department at TWFRS, said: “For many families, Halloween is one of the most enjoyable times of the year, with an opportunity to make memories that will last a life time.

“We don’t want to put a downer on those plans but we do want to make sure that children and adults alike can enjoy it as safely as possible.

“From pumpkin costumes, to witch outfits, and princess dresses, many of those on sale on the High Street can go up in flames in a matter of seconds.

“We want you to use LED candles wherever possible. Naked flames can be dangerous at the best of times but they can be a real hazard in the excitement of Halloween.

“Halloween costumes do undergo fire safety tests and we work with retailers to ensure they’re as safe as possible. Labelling is also clearer than ever before.

“But at the end of the day, many costumes are actually classed as toys and so do not have to meet the same fire safety requirements as clothing.

“The materials can be flammable and there have been examples across the country of children being severely burned when costumes have caught fire.

“We want children to be as safe as possible this Halloween in their costume, and avoiding exposure to a flame can do that.

“Please also make sure you stay on footpaths and remain highly visible to motorists travelling through the area.”

Parents are advised that, if the worst does happen and a costume catches fire, a child should ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ until the flames are out.

Fire service staff advice to parents and guardians about how to treat burns and scolds, focuses on three main tips for anyone suffering a burn or scald:

• Cool the burn with cool running water for up to 20 minutes
• Call for help for any burn larger than a 50p coin
• Cover with cling film, a clean non-fluffy dressing or a cloth

They added that you should never put ice directly on to the burn as it could cause lasting damage
Please don’t apply any creams, toothpaste or butter as that will only deepen the burn.