Protect yourself from arson and other fires this Halloween

    TORONTO, Oct. 31 /CNW/ - To minimize the risk of fire and burn injuries
from arson and other activities that may involve open flames, the Fire Marshal
of Ontario is urging Ontario families to focus on fire prevention and safety
as they prepare for Halloween this year.
    Provincial data from the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) indicate fires
have increased slightly on October 30 and 31 in the last five years
(2001-2005), compared to other days. Specifically in the days leading up to
Halloween, there were an average of 40 fires per day. On October 30 and 31,
there were 54 fires per day. Although this does not indicate a trend, the
increase is due to arson-related fires.
    "It is essential to prevent fire from occurring," says Ontario Fire
Marshal Pat Burke. "Ontarians should ensure leaves and other combustible
debris are cleaned up around homes so that fire has no place to start. It's
also a good idea to keep car doors locked, install motion detector lighting
around properties and ensure that everyone, including children, know to call
9-1-1 or their local emergency number, if there is an emergency."
    In addition to these recommendations, everyone is urged to use caution
when using open flames as they continue to pose a concern for the Ontario fire
service. All candles should be kept away from combustible objects such as
costumes and out of reach of young children and pets.
    To keep families safe from fire this Halloween, the OFM has developed a
Halloween Safety Tips sheet geared to children, adults and home safety. Some
of the important tips include wearing bright and reflective costumes for
children, adults accompanying children as they trick-or-treat and using small
flashlight candles for use in jack-o'-lanterns.
    To get more information about Halloween fire safety, visit and download the Halloween Safety Tips sheet.

                            Halloween Safety Tips
                     From the Office of the Fire Marshal

    Halloween can be a fun and exciting time for children. But make this
Halloween a treat, and don't be tricked by hidden dangers! Here are a few fire
safety tips to help make Halloween night safe and enjoyable for the whole


    -   The best costumes are light coloured or bright and reflective. Keep
        costumes short to avoid tripping and falling. Minimize the risk of
        contact with candles or other ignition sources by avoiding baggy
        pants, loose frills, or billowing skirts.

    -   Give every child a flashlight with fresh batteries. Remind them of
        traffic safety rules, and that they should cross streets at corners
        and never cross between parked cars.

    -   Make sure that children know how to call 9-1-1 or their local
        emergency number if they experience an emergency.

    -   Teach children to STOP, DROP and ROLL should their clothing catch
        fire: STOP immediately, DROP to the ground and cover face with hands,
        and ROLL over and over to extinguish the flames.


    -   Be extra careful when driving as excited children can forget safety
        rules when crossing the street.

    -   Appoint a designated driver if you attend adult Halloween parties.

    -   Accompany children when they go out trick-or-treating.


    -   Consider using only battery-powered lanterns, flashing lights or
        chemical light sticks instead of candles in decorations.

    -   Small flashlight candles are the safest for use in jack-o'-lanterns.
        If you must use a candle, try a tea light or votive candle in a non-
        combustible holder. Always keep candles, matches and lighters out of
        the reach of children. Place candlelit jack-o'-lanterns on sturdy
        tables, away from curtains and other flammable objects. Never leave
        them unattended.

    -   Candlelit jack-o'-lanterns should be kept away from landings and
        doorsteps where costumes can brush against the flame.

    -   Ensure that electrical outlets are not overloaded with holiday
        lighting or special effects. Keep exit doors unblocked. Replace bulbs
        on outdoor lights. Check that the batteries in your smoke alarms

    -   Keep pets safe by ensuring they stay away from the door. Do not let
        them outside.

For further information:

For further information: or to request an interview with the Fire
Marshal: Carol Gravelle, Office of the Fire Marshal, (416)325-3138; Bev
Gilbert, Office of the Fire Marshal, (416) 325-3178

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