October marks a period of the calendar year where candles are used more frequently. Winter is approaching, natural sunlight is reduced, we have Halloween, Guy Fawes night, various religious festivals and observations occur throughout October, November and December. For various reasons, people tend to scatter candles around their house during this time of the year.
Many people are now using battery operating candles and this reduces risk of fire all together. But where people choose to use a real candle, it is important to ensure your home has working smoke alarms. To prevent candle fires from starting in your home, always monitor your candles and ensure candles are put out when you leave the room, even for a moment.
Dave Hughes, Head of Fire Safety said “Place your lit candles with extra care, away from curtains, pets and children. We know that most religious observances use candles, sometimes for long periods of time, but we recommend you always remember to put them out when you leave the room. Positioning of candles is also important, burn candles on a heat resistant mat and maintain a safe distance from curtains can prevent a fire. For example, it is traditional for candles to be displayed in the window during Christmas, Hanukkah and Diwali”.
“Even with these precautions, it is important to be prepared should the worst ever happen. Working smoke alarms can give you the vital time should you need to exit the building. An easy way to remember is to ‘get out, please stay out and call 999’. Keep yourself and others safe by testing your alarm weekly and where possible ensure everyone in your house is familiar with an escape route.”
As part of Candle Fire Safety Week, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has provided a list of top tips to help everyone enjoy candles safety:
- 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 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. Always put them out before moving.
- 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.
- Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder. These candles are designed to liquefy when heated to maximise fragrance.
- Fit smoke alarms and test them 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. It is best practice to rehearse your escape route, especially amongst children and visitors.