KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With Halloween coming up this weekend, first responders are sharing some safety tips to keep the night of trick-or-treating without any real nightmare scenarios from happening.
Jeff Bagwell, the spokesperson for Rural Metro Fire, said his crews are usually busy around Halloween. Although the types of calls range, he said they, unfortunately, get called more often to pranks.
“We don’t get a lot of house fires, but we get a lot of other things like rolls of hay that people leave, set those on fire. Bales of hay, things like that,” Bagwell said.
He said those calls are dangerous, because if firefighters are putting out a flaming bale of hay due to a prank, then if other real emergencies happen, his crews are tied up.
Speaking of fire, Bagwell said homeowners, renters and anyone who loves to decorate for Halloween should be conscious about fire hazards.
“Be careful of older wiring and circuits that might get overloaded. Because we leave those Halloween blow-ups and inflatables in our yard burning more than not. So, you know, make sure you use the right kind of extension cords,” Bagwell.
He said people also need to be cautious about candles, although they are relatively safe inside a pumpkin, depending on where the pumpkin is placed–as long as they aren’t burning for hours.
Bagwell said drivers need to be on high alert when heading through neighborhoods. He said if the speed limit is 10 or 15 miles per hour, they need to go even slower than that.
“In a neighborhood, you’ve added about a hundred to 200 children and parents and parked cars along the street where they get out, or cars that go house to house to house,” Bagwell said.
He said kids could dart out to cross the street, grab a piece of candy on the ground or pick up a part of their costume that fell off. With kids, you never know, so it’s best to be extra cautious around them.
Bagwell said another concern comes into play with kids running: running with candy in their mouths. Much like parents telling their children not to run with straws, they need to say the same to kids about candy.
“Long stick on suckers. Kids want to run once they put one in their mouth. They fall on that and it can go straight to the roof of their mouth.” He added it’s a rare occurrence, but he’s seen it happen.
Along with having a safe Halloween, Bagwell said people attending parties with alcohol need to have a designated driver.
“Don’t complicate your Halloween by adding some bracelets to your costume that may not go along with it,” Bagwell said.
Bagwell said one of the safest Halloween activities families can enjoy are trunk-or-treats.
“It’s in a controlled environment. You have limited traffic or absent traffic because everybody’s required to set up beforehand before they let the kids in,” Bagwell said. He also mentioned that the vendors or people with trunks are usually vetted before they can set up.