Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to take care this Candle Fire Safety Week, which launches today (November 17), and snuff out the risk of fire in their home.
With the days growing darker and winter setting in, a few candles scattered round the room can lend a warm glow to an evening in or add some festive cheer to the season’s celebrations.
But with candle fires resulting in around 350 casualties each year and 40% of all fires started by candles resulting in a death or injury, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging people to take extra care with candles this winter.
How to stay safe
The most important step you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe is to ensure your home has a working smoke alarm.
To prevent candle fires from starting in your home, you should make sure your candles are kept away from flammable materials like curtains and ensure candles are put out when you leave the room, even for a moment.
Baz Fox, prevention and community protection manager for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Candles are a typical sight in many homes, scenting our rooms and giving an atmospheric glow to cold winter nights.
“But it’s important to remember that a candle is not just a decorative feature. Left unattended, an open flame scenting your home could leave a trail of devastation.
“Place your lit candles with extra care, away from curtains, pets and children and always remember to put them out when you leave the room, even for a moment.
“Even with these precautions, it is vital to be prepared should the worst happen. A working smoke alarm can give you the vital time you need to get out, stay out and call 999. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by testing your alarm regularly and by practicing your escape routes.”
To help you enjoy your candles safely, the Fire Kills campaign has the following advice:
- Never leave lit candles unattended. Put burning candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re out completely at night.
- Place your candles carefully. Make sure they are on a stable surface, out of the reach of pets and children, and keep them away from flammable objects like curtains, furniture, bedding and books.
- Don’t move candles once they are lit
- Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause the flame to flare
- Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, out of drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, soot, and dripping.
- Put candles out with a snuffer or a spoon - sparks can fly if you blow them out.
- Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder. These candles are designed to liquefy when heated to maximise fragrance.
- Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
- Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do if a fire should occur – practise your escape route.