Fire service sounds safety alert over Halloween costumes

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The scene in Highams Hill, Gossops Green, Crawley, West Sussex on Saturday after a woman in her 20s was found dead in a bed in a flat. Picture: Flora Thompson/PA Wire

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Firefighters have urged parents to ensure their children wear safe Halloween costumes.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service says cheaper outfits sold online or from less well known brands, are more likely to be counterfeit and could burn quickly if they catch fire.

The fire service is also encouraging families to use LED candles in pumpkins rather than tea lights.

Area manager for community safety, Stew Adamson said: ‘Halloween isn’t celebrated by all, but those who do participate we aren’t trying to spoil your fun.

‘We just ask that parents keep their children well away from naked flames and ask that when picking a costume it is fit for purpose.

‘Instead of using candles to decorate a pumpkin, especially as a way to greet trick or treaters outside your home, you could opt for battery powered LED tea lights. These are much safer and reduce the risk of burns, which can last a lifetime.’

The issue was dramatically highlighted when TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter was badly burned, when her Halloween fancy dress costume caught fire in 2014.

Firefighters are encouraging parents to check that any costumes they buy comply with fire safety regulations by checking the garment’s label before purchasing.

Cheaper outfits sold online or from less well known brands, are more likely to be counterfeit and could burn quickly if they catch fire.

Children’s costumes have to meet a safety standard that states that if they catch fire, the flames must not spread faster than 30mm per second. This is to ensure there is time to remove the costume or extinguish the flames before a child is seriously injured.

Mr Adamson added: ‘If you were to have an accident and you or your child’s clothes caught fire remember to stop, drop and roll until the fire is out. In an emergency cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.’

Sainsbury’s is supporting the fire service’s appeal and welcomed a crew from Fareham into their store over the weekend to share their advice and experiences with the public.

Sainsbury’s Broadcut Fareham, Store Manager Phil Bridgwater said: “We’re pleased to have supported the service on this occasion and hopefully this safety message appeal has stuck with many of our customers, to help them keep safe this Halloween.”

For more information on how you can keep safe this Halloween visit