Snuff out fire risk during Candle Fire Safety Week

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As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is asking people to take care this Candle Fire Safety Week (24 – 30 October) and snuff out the risk of fire in their homes.

With winter fast approaching and the days drawing in, a display of candles around a room can lend a warm glow to an evening indoors, or add some cheer to Halloween and Guy Fawkes celebrations, with Christmas to follow.

Candle fires result in more than 300 casualties each year nationally, and around a third of all fires started by candles resulting in a death or injury, so HWFRS is asking people to be extra cautious with candles this winter.

During the last ten years (1 Jan 2012 – 31 Dec 2021), HWFRS attended almost 100 incidents started by candles – or about ten a year.

The most important step to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe is to ensure your home has working smoke alarms. 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 they are put out when you leave the room, even for a moment.

Emma Roberts, Head of Prevention at HWFRS, said:

“Candles are a typical sight in many homes, scenting our rooms and giving an atmospheric glow to cold winter nights.

“This year in particular, it’s important to remember that candles are not just a decorative feature or a way of reducing electricity bills by saving on lights.

“We all need to take extra caution and guard against carelessness and the numerous distractions of our busy lives, especially in parts of the house we use most and where children are around and left unattended.

“Another hazard we encounter is candles being left near open windows and either blowing over in the wind or igniting a flapping curtain, so ensure place your lit candles with extra care, away from curtains, pets and children and don’t forget to put them out when you leave the room, even for a moment.”

Emma added:

“Even with these precautions it’s vital to be prepared should the worst happen. A working smoke alarm can give you that 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 practising your escape routes.”

To help you enjoy your candles safely, HWFRS offers these top tips for this Candle Fire Safety Week:

  • never leave lit candles unattended and always extinguish them when you leave the room, even for a moment
  • place your candles carefully on a stable surface, out of the reach of pets and children
  • keep candles away from flammable objects like curtains, furniture, bedding and books
  • don’t move candles once they are lit, and don’t leave them near open windows
  • do not burn several candles close together as this might cause the flame to flare
  • only burn candles in a well-ventilated room, out of drafts, vents or air currents – to 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 – they’re designed to liquefy when heated to maximum fragrance
  • if you’re using candles more, you may have more lighters and matches around so don’t forget to keep them out of reach of children
  • lit candles can easily set fire to loose clothing or hair. Remember if clothing should catch fire: Stop, Drop and Roll
  • avoid using candles if you’re feeling tired or have been drinking alcohol. It’s easy to fall asleep and leave them lit.
  • when using candles don’t forget how many you have lit and ensure they are all out completely at night or when you go out
  • fit a smoke alarm and test it now and weekly
  • make sure that everyone knows what to do if a fire happens– and practise your escape route
  • If there is a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

Emma is also urging people to check out our website for help and guidance, including the possibility of a free Home Fire Safety visit:

“There is plenty of fire safety advice at
and at and you can also contact our Prevention Team on 0800 032 1155 to see if you might qualify for a free Home Fire Safety visit.

“You can also complete a FREE online Home Fire Safety check now by following the link on our website. This easy-to-follow home fire safety check will take you through your home a room at a time – the simple questions will help you spot fire risks as you go around your home.