Candles may not seem like a huge fire risk – after all, many of us enjoy lighting a candle or two in the evenings – but it’s important to use them with care. Even if you regularly burn candles, make sure you are always taking the necessary precautions to protect your home and the people inside it. Candle fires are responsible for around 350 casualties across the country every year, with 40% of all fires started by candles leading to death or injury.
That’s why Candle Fire Safety Week aims to raise awareness of candles fires and provide actionable tips on how you can prevent a candle fire in your home. The event will be taking place this week, from 14-20 October 2019, to educate homeowners on safe candle use. Here’s everything you need to know about candle fire safety so you can enjoy the warmth they bring while minimising any risk of fire.
How to use candles safely in the home
Think about where you place your candles. Ensure that the table or shelf is stable and a safe distance away from any flammable objects such as books, curtains and furniture. Make sure lit candles are completely out of reach of children and pets.
Keep a good distance between candles. Burning candles close together can cause the flame to flare. Keep them well away from each other to avoid this.
If you want to move a candle, extinguish it first. Never move a candle once it is lit because it only takes a trip or slip to drop it.
Never leave a candle unattended. Candles should never be left unattended, even if you follow all of the other guidelines and precautions for candle safety. Always make sure you extinguish candles before you go to bed or leave the room.
Be cautious with jar candles. Jar candles can crack or shatter – exposing the open flame – when the wax levels get low. Consider replacing a jar candle when the wax level gets below 1.5cm and never pick up a jar until it has completely cooled down.
Always have a working smoke detector. Every home should have at least one smoke detector on every floor, but it’s a good idea to have one in every room where you burn candles. Make sure you check that the detector is working regularly.
Make sure the room is well-ventilated. It’s best to burn candles in a room that is well-ventilated, out of draughts, vents or air currents. This reduces the fire risk by preventing rapid or uneven burning.
Don’t blow out the candles. It might be easy to simply blow out your candles when you’re finished with them, but this can cause sparks to fly. To be safe, always use a spoon or snuffer to extinguish the flame.
Know what to do if a fire breaks out. You can’t always prevent a fire from happening, so make sure everybody in your home knows what to do if the worst should happen. Know your escape route and don’t re-enter the property if there is a fire.