Candles can be deadly
With winter fast approaching and the days drawing in, candles can lend a warm glow to an evening in or add some cheer to Halloween and Guy Fawkes’ celebrations.
But Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is asking people to take care this Candle Fire Safety Week (14 – 20 October) and snuff out the risk of fire in their homes.
Nationally, candle fires result in around 350 casualties each year, with more than 40% of all fires started by candles resulting in a death or injury. In Herefordshire and Worcestershire, the fire and rescue service has attended 92 incidents in the last 10 years, which were started by candles or matches – and 24% of these were in unattended properties.
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 candles are put out when you leave the room, even for a moment.
Group Commander Mick Cadman said: “Candles are common in many homes, 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.”
Group Commander Cadman continued: “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 by practising your escape routes.”
To help you enjoy your candles safely, HWFRS offers ten top tips for this Candle Fire Safety Week:
- never leave lit candles unattended
- 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
- 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
- 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
- fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly
- make sure that everyone knows what to do if a fire should occur– practise your escape route