Snuff out the risk of a candle fire

Fri 14 Oct, 2016

With winter fast approaching, candles can lend a warm glow to an evening in or add cheer to the season’s pre-Christmas celebrations. But with candle fires resulting in around 350 casualties each year in England, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is asking people to take extra care. More than 40 per cent of all fires started by candles result in a death or injury.

Group Commander Richard Priest, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety department, said: “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 and in proper holders, away from curtains, clothes, 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 by practising your escape routes.”  

Next week (17 to 23 October) is Candle Fire Safety Week. Follow Richard's’s top tips to stay safe:

  • Never leave lit 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 such as curtains, furniture, bedding and books.
  • Do not 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 draughts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, soot and dripping.
  • Trim the wick to about a quarter of an inch each time before burning. Always keep the wax pool clear of wick trimmings, matches and debris.
  • 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 turn to liquid when heated to maximise fragrance.
  • Fit smoke alarms and test them regularly. Working smoke alarms 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.
  • Click here for an A4 candle safety poster.