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Candle Fire Safety Week: Snuff out the fire risk

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, fire and rescue services across the country are asking people to take care this Candle Fire Safety Week (12-18 October) and snuff out the risk of fire in their homes.

With winter fast approaching, a few candles scattered round the room can lend a warm glow to an evening in or add some festive cheer to the season’s celebrations such as Guy Fawkes’ night and Christmas. But, with candle fires resulting in around 300 casualties each year, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are asking people to take extra care with candles this winter – around a quarter (27 per cent) of all fires started by candles attended by fire and rescue services 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 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.

Prevention Delivery Manager Ian Hopkins 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. From April 2019 to March 2020, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have attended 20 fires where the source of ignition was a candle, all of which could have been easily avoided.

“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. 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 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.

• 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 now and monthly. 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 – practice your escape route.

For more information on candle safety, visit www.dwfire.org.uk/safety/safety-at-home/candles

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