Decorate, dress up and eat candy. But consider staying home this Halloween. (pxhere.com)

Decorate, dress up and eat candy. But consider staying home this Halloween. (pxhere.com)

Stay safe this Halloween: Vernon Fire Rescue Services

More safety measures required this Halloween for trick-or-treaters, homeowners, amid COVID-19 pandemic

The spookiest night of the year is just around the corner and Vernon Fire Rescue Services is reminding the little ghosts and ghouls to keep safety top of mind this Halloween.

“The number one thing to remember: be visible,” VFRS Deputy Chief Dwight Seymour said. “Now that the sun is setting earlier, it’s important that kids’ costumes have some form of reflection on them so drivers see everyone crossing the road or walking from house to house.”

This is easily done by adding glow sticks or flashlight to every child’s Halloween arsenal.

When choosing a costume, VFRS reminds everyone to be mindful of ease of movement, tripping hazards and visibility.

“Community safety is our top priority,” Seymour said. “Therefore, Fire Stations 1 and 2 will be available as safe havens for children who may feel uncomfortable and need a place to go.”

Extra precautions are necessary this year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Megan Lawrence, provincial education director and primary care paramedic with Ambulance Paramedics of BC.

“Every year there are important precautions that parents, trick-or-treaters, and homeowners should take to make Halloween a fun and safe event for everyone,” she said. “This year is different, and so, Ambulance Paramedics of BC is asking the public to take some extra precautions to ensure we minimize risks of transferring COVID19.”

Keep trick-or-treat groups small and leave space between yourselves and others; make space when handing out treats; skip the Halloween mask and opt for a PPE mask — don’t wear both. Those handing out candy are urged to opt-out of the traditional shared bowl and use tongs to hand out individual treats instead.

Homeowners should keep their homes well lit, including driveways, pathways and porches — if they plan to participate in trick-or-treating.

VFRS reminds decorators to use battery-operated candles or glow sticks in Jack-o’-lanterns instead of tea lights or candles. All exits should be clear of decorations and smoke alarms should be working, VFRS noted. All decorations should be kept away from heat sources such as light bulbs and heaters.

British Columbia’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued an order Oct. 26 to heavily limit gatherings in private homes, including Halloween parties.

Following a record-breaking weekend of new COVID-19 cases (817 cases), Henry issued an order to limit private gatherings to one household, plus a group of “safe six” only.

“When you come together, you bring your risks with you. And when others leave, they take their risks with them,” Henry said.

“That means no Halloween parties.”

The new order is enforceable by peace officers, Henry said, but noted she believed that most people are not breaking the rules on purpose. However, she did note that if a party is clearly breaking the rules, that is an occasion to call in the violation.

READ MORE: B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

READ MORE: Mother implores people to not forget daughter missing in Shuswap


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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