Halloween is meant to be a spooky time of year, but for some it can be scary, really really scary, and some will have a nightmare of a time.
Watch our Halloween safety video we made in collaboration with An Garda Siochana and Children’s Health Ireland on YouTube.
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Our Firefighter/Paramedics want to enjoy Halloween as much as you do, so here is some advice you can take to help stay safe:
What can you do?
- Business owners and residents: Don’t leave waste or material that can be used for building bonfires in sight, or in accessible locations. You are responsible for your waste, and if your waste is found to have not been disposed of correctly you could be held liable. Waste left out encourages collectors to enter your property.
- Bonfire collections, or stashes, are collected by younger people in the weeks and months leading up to Halloween. They are often stored in dangerous locations such as derelict buildings, sheds, basements, laneways, roofs and wooded areas. These stashes can be lit prematurely by others.
- If you see waste being left out, being collected or know of a stash, please ring your local authority, the contact details are below for the different Dublin Local Authorities. Dublin Fire Brigade are not in a position to take reports or dismantle stashes.
- Bonfires are illegal, however, we have to be realistic. It is Halloween after all.
- Only attend organised events, this way you can be confident that the bonfire will be well built and not contain anything nasty.
- Over Halloween, and especially on the 31st, we will receive hundreds of 999/112 calls to report bonfires. This is because someone has a genuine concern.
- Bonfires can contain some nasty material such as car tyres, gas cylinders, aerosol cans, oils, plastics and household rubbish. The smoke from these types of fires is extremely toxic. The smoke can cause complications with people already suffering from breathing problems.
- Don’t get too close to a bonfire. If you feel the heat from a fire, then you are too close. Clothes or costumes are at risk of catching fire. Remember STOP, DROP & ROLL.
- Bonfires by their nature are destructive and bonfires built too high will collapse. Don’t be the one that it falls on. Stand well clear.
- Grass burned by bonfires will contain sharp and nasty debris for younger children or animals to injure themselves on. The grass will take over a year to recover.
- Don’t try to run through or jump over a bonfire. You’ll fall and give yourself serious irreversible injuries. Don’t give in to peer pressure.
- Don’t consume alcohol or other intoxicant around a bonfire.
- Fireworks are dangerous, and they are illegal. You could find yourself in serious trouble for using, selling or supplying them.
- Fireworks aren’t fun for everyone. Vulnerable people such as the elderly, young, infirm and those with sensory issues can become petrified of the loud noises.
- Because fireworks are illegal they carry no recognised safety mark, this means they do not conform to any recognised standards. They may fail to ignite, igniting may be delayed, or ignite prematurely.
- Fireworks are essentially small explosives and can cause full-thickness burns, traumatic amputations, blindness and hearing difficulties.
- Clench your fists and try zipping up a coat, or make a cup of tea. That’s what an amputation is like. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), confidence issues and anxiety are all recognised after-effects of trauma.
Dressing up and trick or treating
- Costumes really set the scene. However, some costumes are classified as ‘toys’ and are not required to meet the same fire safety standards as clothes. Check that the costume has a genuine CE safety mark and comes from a reputable dealer. Cheap costumes available on online websites may not reach the expected standards.
- Keep costumes away from naked flames, this includes open fires, bonfires, candles and even sparklers.
- Hairspray is extremely flammable, take this in to consideration when dressing up.
Avoid wearing dark costumes as this makes it more difficult for drivers to see you or your children. Incorporate a torch or light in the costume. Choose a costume and mask that doesn’t restrict your child’s vision.
- If you decide to use candles, please use battery operated LED candles. Real candles are dangerous, especially if they are left unattended.
- Hang decorations away from heat sources and naked flames.
- If you are using decorations that need to be plugged in, don’t overload sockets and remember to plug them out when you leave the house or go to bed. If you are using outdoor electrics make sure that the decorations are designed for the outside and that you use proper outdoor rated electrical connections.
- Animals and pets can become extremely distressed with fireworks. Have a talk with your vet to see if they can prescribe relaxant medications.
- Keep your pets inside on Halloween night. They may try to run away. Unfortunately it is not unheard of for pets and animals to be attacked.
Fire and Emergency Services
Respect all emergency services and council crews. We have a job to do and families to go home to. Remember that as a Fire based Emergency Medical Service (EMS) our fire appliances may be traveling to a person who is seriously sick or injured.
Above all else. Stay safe and sound. #SafeAtSamhain
Dublin City Council (01) 222 2222 or [email protected]
Fingal County Council (01) 890 5000 or [email protected]
South Dublin County Council (01) 414 9000 or [email protected]
Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown (01) 205 4700 or [email protected]
If there is imminent danger to life or property dial 999 or 112