West Chester Police add patrols and Fire Department offers advice for safe Halloween

With Halloween right around the corner, many people are beginning to plan how they are going to keep their children safe while they are trick-or-treating. The increase of children out in the streets is not only a concern for parents, but also the West Chester police and fire departments.

The West Chester Police will launch the Halloween Blitz this week funded with a grant that allows an increase in officers for traffic enforcement. The focus will be on stopping impaired drivers, speeders, distracted drivers and those not wearing seat belts.

West Chester police and fire are working together to make sure everyone has a safe Halloween. They offer some important safety tips for Trick-or-Treat night:

• When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. Choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame. If wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough to see out.
• Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume so they can see where they are going and so motorists can see more them more clearly.
• It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a jack-o-lantern. If using a real candle, use extreme caution. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far away from trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways, and yards.
• Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if clothing catches fire. (Have them practice stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
• Parents should accompany young children when they trick-or-treat and older children should be given a defined area for trick-or-treating and a time they are to be expected home. Make sure older children have a cell phone available to use in case of an emergency and that they know who to call.
• Tell children to never approach a vehicle that they don’t know or a house with all the lights off.
• Trick-or-treat in groups. Don’t go out alone.
• Motorists use extra caution and watch for children trick-or-treating.