Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Candle Fire Safety Week 2020: Fire Service shares advice to stay safe

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is sharing safety advice to minimise the risk of candle fires as part of Candle Fire Safety Week (12 - 18 October) and the Fire Kills campaign.

Candle fires result in more than 300 casualties each year, so ECFRS is urging residents to take extra care this autumn and winter. In Essex between July 2019 - July 2020, there were 33 house fires where candles or incense burners were involved, in some cases resulting in homelessness. The main cause for the fires were because candles were too close to flammable surfaces like curtains. 

Will Newman, Head of Prevention at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: 

“Candles in the autumn and winter can make our homes feel warmer, snug and cosy. But it is important to remember that candles are an open flame that can cause devastation if left unattended or near flammable surfaces, this is why I’m recommending that residents make changes this year. 

“We are urging people to remove the risk by swapping your wax candles for ‘flameless candles’.  Flameless candles, sometimes called LED, battery operated, or electric candles have many advantages. As the first line of defence, and to keep you and your family safe it is essential that you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home, that are frequently tested. Smoke alarms give you an early warning sign to fire, so you have time to get out of the house, stay out and call 999 for the Fire Service.” 

If you do choose to use wax candles at home, please always follow our advice to help keep you and your family safe: 

  • Never leave candles unattended, always blow them out when you leave the room, even if it’s only for a moment 
  • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and are away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains, bedding and blankets  
  • Children should never be left alone with lit candles 
  • Put candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re put out completely at night 
  • Keep the wax pool clear of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times 
  • Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, but avoid drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, sooting, and excessive dripping 
  • Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring 
  • Don’t move candles once they are lit 
  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations on burn time and proper use 
  • Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause flaring 

For more home fire safety advice, visit: www.essex-fire.gov.uk/Home_Fire_Safety 

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