Halloween and Fall Safety Tips for Home and Family
There are many real and imagined dangers around Halloween and the in-between period between summer and winter. To help homeowners and their families stay safe for Halloween and the fall season, we’re sharing some tips to prevent fires, carbon monoxide leaks, decorating accidents, and other dangerous scenarios.
Additionally, October 8-14 is National Fire Prevention Week, a perfect time to go over some important fire safety tips.
Halloween and Fall Fire Safety Tips
Check smoke detectors. Home fires spike around holidays and during winter heating seasons. This is due to the increased use of candles, cooking, heating equipment, and flammable decorations. Luckily, working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
It’s a great time to go over some smoke detector safety advice:
- Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and outside of each sleeping area.
- Test all smoke alarms every month by pressing and holding the test button.
- Replace the batteries every fall and spring (around Daylight Saving Time, which ends on November 5th this year).
- For best protection, use interconnected, combination smoke alarms (includes both ionization and photoelectric alarms).
- Hardwired alarms with battery backups are considered the most reliable.
- To prevent false readings, install smoke alarms at least 10 feet from all heating equipment.
- Replace all smoke alarms at least every 10 years (or sooner depending on manufacturer instructions).
- Learn more Smoke Alarm and Heating Safety Tips.
Check CO detectors. If you are hearing and seeing things around Halloween, your mind could be playing tricks on you as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Listen to this spooky, real-life story from This American Life about a haunted house where plants die and beds shake.
It turned out that the furnace was sending odorless and colorless carbon monoxide into the home instead of venting it out the chimney. CO poisoning can cause visual and auditory hallucinations, along with a variety of other scary symptoms, such as confusion, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and headaches. Don’t ignore these neurological symptoms.
Carbon monoxide is a natural byproduct of combustion, which can be caused by any fuel-burning process. From idling car engines to faulty gas water heaters and furnaces, without proper ventilation CO poisoning is a real danger to watch out for.
If you think there is carbon monoxide in your home, evacuate the home immediately and call 911. If anyone is already feeling the symptoms of CO poisoning, get them to the hospital as soon as possible. Even small amounts can cause permanent damage.
In order to prevent CO poisoning in the first place:
- Make sure there are working smoke detectors on each floor of the home and outside of every sleeping area.
- Test CO detectors once a month.
- Replace CO detectors at least every 10 years or sooner (as indicated by the manufacturer instructions).
- Never leave the car running/idling in the garage.
- Schedule professional heating inspections every fall, before you start using your furnace/fireplace.
- Change/clean your air filter every 30-60 days—a clogged air filter increases the risk of CO buildup.
- Learn more about Carbon Monoxide Hauntings and Furnace Safety.
Use cooking equipment and candles with caution. Never leave cooking or candles unattended and make sure you have working fire extinguishers nearby. If possible, keep kids out of the kitchen and far away from lit candles. In fact, use battery-operated candles to get rid of this risk entirely.
Do you remember the PASS word for operating a portable fire extinguisher? It’s Pull (pill the pin), Aim (aim at the base of the fire), Squeeze (squeeze the operating handle), and Sweep (sweep from side to side). Read your extinguisher’s instructions and become familiar with using it before a fire breaks out.
Purchase multi-purpose extinguishers for the home, which can be used on all types of home fires, including grease fires. Learn more about Fire Extinguisher Safety.
NEVER attempt to put a grease fire out with water. Use a multi-purpose fire extinguisher or class K fire extinguisher (other extinguisher types, however, can make it much worse). If a proper extinguisher isn’t available, smother it with salt or baking soda. You can also try a metal lid or cookie sheet (NEVER glass, ceramic, or plates). If the fire is out of control or still smoking, close the door, evacuate the home and call 911 to report a kitchen grease fire.
Learn more Cooking, Candle, and Fire Safety Tips.
Schedule fall heating maintenance. In order to prevent CO leaks, high energy bills, early breakdowns, and an uncomfortable home, make sure to schedule heating maintenance early. The fall season is the perfect time to have a professional HVAC technician clean and inspect your furnace, ductwork and ventilation systems for the colder weather ahead. Don’t forget to make sure you dryer vents are clear and free of lint and debris. Join a home maintenance plan and have your annual HVAC tune-ups automated, plus other perks!
Halloween and Holiday Decorating Safety
Decorate when the weather permits. If it is wet, windy, or dark out, wait until a more appropriate time to decorate your home for the holidays. If winds pick up or inclement weather begins while decorating, stop immediately.
Always use the proper ladder or step stool. Never stand on furniture. Make sure all ladders and step stools are in good condition before using. For safety, a straight or extension ladder should extend at least three feet over the edge of the roof.
Read all manufacturer instructions before using ladders, extension cords, and electrical devices. For instance, never stand on the ladder’s top rung (sometimes the top two rungs), some extension cords and string lights are only rated for indoor use, and there’s a limit to how many light strings you can plug in at one time.
Avoid using flammable decorations. Dried flowers, corn stalks, bales of hay, and crepe paper can easily ignite. If you do end up using dry and flammable decorations, be extra careful that they are located far away from all heat sources, including candles, lights, and heaters.
Use battery-operated candles, flashlights, or glow sticks for your jack-o-lanterns. If you do use candles during the holidays, make sure they are far away from any potentially flammable item and maintain constant supervision. Make sure all candles are blown out before going to bed.
Make sure walkways, porches, and steps are clean and free of any obstacles.
Only use lights and extension cords that have been tested by a recognized independent testing laboratory, such as UL.
Halloween Safety for Children
- Make sure all costumes are safe, clearly visible, and flame-resistant.
- Teach kids the “stop, drop, and roll” technique.
- Establish a curfew.
- Teach kids street safety, such as obeying all traffic signals and walking, not running.
- Do not allow children to eat any treats until examined by an adult.
Schedule your regular HVAC tune-ups with Pacific Air Systems and we’ll make sure to investigate your heating and ventilation system to make sure everything is safe for your home and family.
- Frightening Furnace Noises and What They Mean
- Carbon Monoxide Hauntings
- Smoke Alarm & Heating Safety Tips for National Fire Prevention Week
Wishing you and your family have a safe and happy Halloween!
Contact Pacific Air Systems Heating & Cooling at (253) 292-3995 for 24/7 service.
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