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Video: How to be safe this Halloween

TODAY
updated 9/18/2008 12:39:07 PM ET 2008-09-18T16:39:07

Halloween is a time for tricks or treats — but just be sure your mischief isn't dangerous. From decorations to candles to costumes, there are a lot of serious hazards that you need to know about. Before you strike up the pumpkins, remember to first follow these candle-safety guidelines from Underwriter Laboratories:

Scented, tall, round or square, many consumers are using candles as a source to highlight holiday décor.  While these adornments add ambiance to a room, they also pose a safety hazard for many homes.

Candles were the number one heat source for the majority of the 17,200 house fires reported, according to the most recent statistics available. The popular household item caused an estimated 200 deaths, 1,540 injuries and $200 million in direct property damage, according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) research.

That’s why Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the NFPA remind consumers to practice safety precautions when using candles year round, not just during the holidays.

Following are some tips consumers can use to practice candle safety whether they are using them for Jack-o-Lanterns:

1. Keep candles away from items that easily catch fire, such as decorations, window treatments, paper, wreaths and boughs.

2. Place candles in an area where they cannot be knocked over by children or pets.

3. Only use sturdy, non-combustible candleholders that securely grip the candle and won’t tip over.

4. If a candle does not have a container, extinguish it when two inches of wax remain. If the candle has its own container, put it out when it burns down to a half-inch. This will protect table tops and prevent glass containers from burning.

5. Always keep lighters and matches away from children and pets. Never leave children unattended in a room with lit candles.

6. Remember to extinguish candles before falling asleep or leaving the room.

5 things to know about safely hanging decorative lights
1. Look for the UL Mark on light strings, electrical decorations and extension cords. Remember:

  • Green UL Mark = For indoor-only use
  • Red UL Mark = For indoor and outdoor use

2. Make sure light strings do not contain any loose connections, frayed or bare wires, or broken or cracked sockets.

3. Practice ladder safety when hanging lights. (Click here for more information on ladder safety.)

4. Use plastic hooks or clips designed especially for hanging lights. Never nail or staple light strings.

5. Decorative lights are only intended for short-term use. Take them down after 90 days to prevent possible damage from weather conditions and neighborhood animals.

For more information regarding holiday decorating safety, candle safety and cooking safety, please visit the UL Newsroom Web site at www.ul.com/newsroom.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

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