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October 22, 2013

Oct. 22, 2012

For additional information,
Please contact: Amanda Shell
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 255-0661


Halloween means lots of little feet running door to door and across streets, and Rural/Metro wants them all to get home safely.

Halloween has become the second-most popular family holiday in the United States – ranking just behind Christmas – and its signature event is children trick-or-treating, which often takes place after sundown, making the costumed children harder to see for motorists.

“We provide safety tips every Halloween, much like the beginning of the school year to remind motorists to slow down, because children are excited and not always watching for vehicles,” said Jerry Harnish, the regional director of Rural/Metro. “The children are focused on their candy and the next house and don’t always remember to look for cars. There are several steps that we can all take to keep them safe.”

An insurance study revealed that over a recent 10-year period, fatalities of pedestrians under the age of 18 averaged 5.5 on Halloween compared to 2.6 child deaths on other days of the year. The majority of the collisions didn’t occur at an intersection or crosswalk, and 55 percent of the victims were ages five to 15.

Rural/Metro offers these safety tips to keep youngsters safe on Halloween:

  • An adult should always accompany trick-or-treaters on their candy rounds.
  • Ensure your child’s costume is flame-resistant. Pumpkins on porches and doorsteps can be lit, and some neighborhoods line the road with candle luminary bags. Check the labels to ensure your child is wearing flame-resistant fabric.
  • Costumes should be brightly colored so as to be easily seen. If not, add reflective tape to the front and back of the costume.
  • Use a flashlight. Your child will both be able to see and be seen by others.
  • Remove any mask or headwear item that could limit eyesight before crossing a street or driveway.
  • Stay in a group.
  • Stay in well-lit areas and only approach homes with a porch light on.
  • Use the sidewalk, if available, and cross the street as a group in established crosswalks or intersections.
  • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters, especially at dusk and after dark.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Never let your child enter a stranger’s home or vehicle for a treat.
  • No treats should be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an adult at home. It is always better to consume packaged treats.
  • Notify police immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
  • In preparation for trick-or-treaters, make sure your front porch and pathway are clear of hazards, such as fallen leaves, flower pots and hoses.

About Rural/Metro

Rural/Metro of Tennessee is the largest emergency service provider in East Tennessee, with a combined workforce of more than 800 firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, telecommunicators and other support personnel. Rural/Metro Ambulance Service is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) with contracts for 911 service in Knox, Blount, Loudon, Franklin and Polk counties.

Rural/Metro Fire Department is the third largest in the state by population protected and has provided fire protection for Knox County since 1977. Rural/Metro Corporation provides emergency and non-emergency medical transportation, fire protection, and other safety services in 22 states and approximately 400 communities throughout the United States.