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Fort Wayne Halloween safety tips

Statement as issued Wednesday by the Fort Wayne Fire Department:

FORT WAYNE, Ind., Oct. 31, 2012 – The Fort Wayne Fire Department encourages everyone in Fort Wayne to celebrate Halloween safely. The “official” Trick-or-Treating hours in Fort Wayne will be from 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 31. Simple safety tips will enable everyone to enjoy the festivities and to stay safe.

Tips for motorists

• Due to the number of children out on the street on Halloween evening, motorists should be very careful driving along city streets, especially in neighborhoods, during designated trick-or-treat hours.

• Avoid talking on a cell phone or other distracting activities.

• Remember that excited children may dart out into traffic at any time without warning.

• Drive with your headlights on during trick-or-treat hours so that your vehicle is more visible to children.

Safety on the road

• Trick-or-treaters should use sidewalks instead of the street whenever possible and always cross at crosswalks.

• Remind children to look both ways before crossing the street.

• Teach children to never assume they are seen by a vehicle. Small children may be especially difficult to spot in the dark.

• Children should also carry flashlights after dark to easily see and be seen.

Costumes

• When purchasing costumes, masks, beards and wigs, make sure the label says “flame resistant.” While this doesn’t ensure these items won't catch fire, it does indicate the items will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.

• To minimize the risk of contact with candles or other sources of ignition, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.

• Apply a natural mask of cosmetics rather than have a child wear a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is used, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision.

• For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights. Bags or sacks should also be light colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores.

Safe homes

• Homeowners and renters expecting trick-or-treaters should remove anything that could be an obstacle from lawns, steps and porches.

• Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.

• Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps to avoid slips.

• Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

Trick-or-treating

• Only trick-or-treat during hours designated by the community.

• Children should only visit familiar homes that have the porch light on.

• Make sure older children trick-or-treat with friends and carry a cell phone for quick communication.

• Younger children should walk in groups with older children or be accompanied by an adult.

• Children should never enter a home, but should wait on the porch for the resident to hand out treats.

Eating treats

• Children should be instructed to refrain from eating any treats until after they get home.

• Parents should inspect their children’s treats before allowing the children to eat them.

• Only eat candy wrapped in its original wrapper.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department encourages all residents to enjoy Halloween safely. Visit our website at www.fortwaynefiredepartment.org for more simple safety tips.

Send items for The Scoop to jgnews@jg.net.

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