Snuff out the candle fire risk with HWFRS

Candle Fire Safety Week

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is warning people that candles can light up the home in more ways than one.

About a third of all fires started by candles and attended by fire and rescue services result in a death or injury with around 300 casualties nationally each year.

There have been 91 incidents alone in Herefordshire and Worcestershire between October 2013 and 2023 with 15 injuries.

So HWFRS is asking people to take extra care this winter as part of the Fire Kills Campaign’s Candle Fire Safety Week (23-29 October).

With winter fast approaching, some extra lighting scattered around the room can lend a warm glow to an evening in or add cheer to the season’s celebrations.

But people should ensure their home has working smoke alarms and keep candles away from flammable materials like curtains before putting them out when leaving a room. 

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Head of Prevention, 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, or as a safer, brighter alternative you could use LED candles.

“Even with these precautions it’s vital to be prepared should the worst happen.

“Working smoke alarms 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 alarms weekly and by practising your escape routes.” 

HWFRS offers these tips for Candle Fire Safety Week: 

  • Never leave lit candles unattended. Put burning candles out when you leave the room and make sure they are 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.
  • Don’t use candles in bedrooms or anywhere you might fall asleep.
  • 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.
  • Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder. These candles are designed to liquefy when heated to maximise fragrance.
  • Children and pets shouldn’t be left alone with lit candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  • Fit smoke alarms and test them now and weekly. 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.