Public Agencies Offer Halloween Safety Reminders

OCEAN CITY – As witches and goblins prepare to hit the streets this Halloween, local public safety departments are sending out friendly warnings and reminders to keep it fun and safe.

The Ocean City Fire Department (OCFD) reminds the public that when choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long, trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame.

It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a jack o’ lantern. If you must use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit.

When lighting candles inside a jack o’ lantern, be sure to use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn, and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways, and yards.

“Halloween is an exciting time, especially for families and young children who enjoy carving pumpkins, getting dressed up and trick-or-treating with friends,” Ocean City Fire Department Deputy Fire Marshal Joe Sexauer said. “While you are participating in the holiday fun, remember that candles pose a hazard to children and adults both. If you are using lit candles in your jack o’ lanterns, make sure to review stop, drop, and roll with your children and have them practice this with you.”

Also, if your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out. Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.

If your children are going to Halloween parties at other homes, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.

The Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) has also recommended tips in keeping it safe this Halloween, such as plan a safe way home before the festivities begin and before drinking designate a sober driver. If you’re impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement, and remember, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk”. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

The Berlin Police Department (BPD) would like to remind everyone to be safe during the upcoming Halloween festivities. They also would like to remind parents to ensure that masks and other parts of costumes fit properly and are encouraged to accompany their children as they participate in events.

The BPD is reminding drivers to take extra precautions and be aware of pedestrians while traveling. Only registered vehicles should be on the roadway.

Also, only trick or treat at homes that has outside lights on. The BPD will be checking candy at Berlin Town Hall from 6-7:30 p.m. for families wanting to have their goods examined.

According to new research from State Farm, kids have a greater chance of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. During the 21 years analyzed, there were more than double the numbers of fatalities on Oct. 31 than the average for other days, 5.5 fatalities vs. 2.6 fatalities.

State Farm and Bert Sperling of Sperling’s BestPlaces analyzed more than four million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1990-2010 for children 0-18 years of age on Oct. 31.

The findings include nearly a quarter of the accidents occurred from 6-7 p.m. Most fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15. Young drivers accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians. Each of the last six years of the study, 2005-2010, saw Halloween child fatalities below the 21-year average of 5.5.

State Farm offered its own tips to keep Halloween safe as well.

Be on alert for children running in between parked cars and crossing the street in the middle of the block;

Avoid tailgating. The car in front of you may be following along with children as they trick-or-treat.;

Use your car’s hazard lights to alert other drivers if you are dropping off your children;

Avoid distractions while driving. Turn the radio off, put away the smart phone and pull over if you need to direct attention to kids in the back seat;

Remember to slow down, especially in residential areas. It’s not worth jeopardizing your safety or the safety of our children;

Leave early. From school and local park district activities to neighborhood and family parties, Halloween can be an action-packed day. Leave yourself plenty of time so you don’t have to rush. Ten or fifteen extra minutes can make a big difference; and

Encourage your children to carry a flashlight or wear reflective gear on their costume so they are more visible to people who are driving.