16 October 2018
five differently coloured candles

​With Halloween and Christmas creeping up in the calendar, many people will be digging out their tea lights and decorative candles to celebrate the season.

This week is Candle Fire Safety Week (15 to 21 October) and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) would like to use this opportunity to urge people to please do what they can to snuff out the risk of using candles.

In the financial year 2017 to 2018, firefighters in Northamptonshire attended 15 candles fires, in which one person was injured.

Deaths of three people

Since 2009, 98 candle fires have been attended by the Fire Service in this county, leading to the deaths of three people. A further 23 people were injured in the fires.

Nationally, candle fires result in more than 300 casualties each year, with death or injury resulting in at least one third of all accidental candle fires at home.

Tina Collett, District Liaison Officer for NFRS, said: “It’s easy to see why people use candles at this time of year, they can look so attractive and add to the atmosphere of a celebration, but I think people forget just how dangerous they can be.

“We would ask people to please remember our basic safety advice about candles; always keep them away from children, try to avoid using them in pumpkins and other Halloween decorations, battery operated lights are a lot safer. Also, it is important to always put candles out when you leave a room, making sure they are completely out at night.”

One key message is to make sure homes are all kitted out with working smoke alarms. These alarms should be fitted on every level of a property and should be tested at least once a month. When a fire takes place, a working smoke alarm can buy extra time for a family to escape, potentially meaning the difference between life and death.

Candle fire safety messages

  • Never leave lit candles unattended. Put burning candles out when you leave the room and make sure they are out completely at night.
  • Position your candles carefully. They should be out of the reach of pets and children, on a stable surface and 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.
  • Make sure candles are secured in appropriate holders.
  • Never leave children alone with candles.
  • Fit smoke alarms and test them now and monthly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows what to do if a fire breaks out. Practise your escape route.