With the days growing shorter and the dark winter nights setting in, a few candles scattered round the room can lend a warm glow to any evening. But with candle fires resulting in over 350 casualties each year in England, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service are asking people to take extra care with candles this winter - over 40% of all fires started by candles result in a death or injury.
The most important step you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe is to ensure your home has a working smoke alarm. 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.
Alan Coxon, Community Safety Prevention Managersaid: “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.
“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 practicing your escape routes.”
To help you enjoy your candles safely, the Fire Kills campaign has offered some tips for this Candle Fire Safety Week:
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 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.
Stay alive and stay safe with a smoke alarm
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service remind you that a working smoke alarm will greatly increase your chances of escaping from a fire unharmed. Without one you and your family are more than twice as likely to die in a fire at home.
Check that a smoke alarm is fitted on each level of your property:
regularly check the alarm by pressing the button
once a year – change your battery or consider buying a ten-year alarm which will not require frequent battery changes
once a year - vacuum and wipe the smoke alarm casing to ensure dust isn’t blocking the sensor chamber (For mains wired alarms, switch off first).
Plan an escape route –make sure you and your family know the quickest way out in the event of fire.