Safety tips for Halloween

With Halloween nearing, local fire and police departments have issued safety tips for trick-or-treaters in the Okanagan. Global News

Have fun and be safe. That’s the message local police and fire officials are issuing to Okanagan trick-or-treaters on the eve of Halloween.

“On average, the fire department will receive anywhere from 40 to 60 calls on Halloween night,” said Gayanne Pacholzuk, fire prevention officer with the Kelowna Fire Department. “Mostly these are related to burning or medical distress.”

“We often find an increase in nuisance, noise and fireworks related calls on Halloween,” said Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey. “As a result, we work closely with the Kelowna Fire Department to ensure the public is celebrating safely.”

“We typically see an increase in calls for service on Halloween, including calls related to fireworks and firecrackers, said Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Cst. Kelly Brett. “Please do your part and keep 911 reserved for emergency situations only.”

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Local fire and police departments also issued safety tips for trick-or-treaters.

Halloween Safety Tips:

  • Choose a costume that is bright, visible and without long trailing fabric that could catch a flame.
  • Make sure your children’s costumes are properly sized to avoid falls and tripping.
  • Avoid masks and costumes that obstruct visibility or consist of billowy materials.
  • Provide children with flashlights or glow sticks so cars can easily see them.
  • Stick to the sidewalk: do not jaywalk, even if the house across the road has really cool decorations.
  • Clear all pathways and exits of pumpkins and large decorations that may pose tripping hazards for trick-or-treaters or block your way in an emergency.
  • Have an adult or an older teenager accompany young children trick-or-treating.
  • Always check candy before letting your child eat it. Avoid homemade treats or un-wrapped candy.
  • Keep flammable decorations, such as dried flowers, cornstalks, costumed characters and craft paper, away from candles, fireplaces and other open flames and heat sources.
  • Instead of an open flame, use a battery-operated candle in jack-o-lanterns.
  • Watch those candles! Decorations are the first thing to ignite in 900 reported home fires each year. Two of every five of these fires were started by a candle, according to the National Fire Prevention Association.
  • Ensure costumes with fake weapons are easily identified as fake.
  • Teach children to stop, drop and roll if their costume catches fire.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.

In addition to these tips, residents are reminded that the use of recreational fireworks and firecrackers are not permitted in the City of Kelowna.

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In addition, RCMP said volunteers will be out patrolling neighbourhoods, acting as extra eyes and ears. Firefighters from Station 7 in South East Kelowna will also be set up on the corner of Spaarpak and Kimatouche Roads handing out candy and hot chocolate to trick-or-treaters.

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West Kelowna Fire Rescue also reminds everyone that fireworks can cause injury and fire. Only certified professionals, who obtain a special events permit from the fire chief, are permitted to set off fireworks.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP is also reminding the public that discharging fireworks in city limits, unless authorized by a permit, can lead to fines. Vernon RCMP also said it will have extra resources on patrol.

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The Vernon SPCA would also like to remind residents that pets are safer inside the home, away from any frightening sights and sounds, For more information on how to keep your pets safe during Halloween, visit the Vernon SPCA’s webpage.

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