Candle fire safety week: snuff out the fire risk

Fire and Rescue Services across the Country are asking people to
take care this Candle Fire Safety Week (14th-20th of November 2011) and snuff out the risk of fire in their homes.

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 such as Halloween, Guy Fawkes’ night and Christmas.

But with over fifty fires started by candles every day, Cleveland Fire Brigade are asking people to take extra care with candles this winter. In Cleveland, 5% of accidental dwelling fires in the past 12 months were caused by candles. Between October and February every year candle-related house fires rise sharply, peaking at more than double the summer average in December.

The most important steps you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe include making sure your candles are kept away from flammable materials like curtains and putting candles out when you leave the room, even for a moment.

Les Jones, Head of Community Safety 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 another piece of furniture. Left unattended, an open flame scenting your home could leave a trail of devastation.

“Over fifty fires are started by candles every day – make sure you don’t join the statistic. 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’s 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 practice your escape routes.” 

To help you enjoy your candles safely, Fire Kills has teamed up with the British Candle makers’ Federation this Candle Fire Safety Week to offer some top tips:

  • Never leave 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 liquify 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.

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