Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Stay safe on Valentine's Day.

If you are planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day with a loved one and a candle lit dinner take extra care to stay fire safe.

If you’re cooking then make sure you don’t get distracted and stay safe with candles.

More fires start in the kitchen than any other room. Last year three quarters of the house fires in Essex started in the kitchen with distraction while cooking being a major cause of house fires throughout the County.

To stay as safe as possible while preparing your romantic meal follow our advice:

 • Avoid leaving cooking unattended and never leave children in the kitchen alone.

 • If you have to leave the kitchen to answer the door or send a text, turn off the cooker.

 • Never leave children alone whilst cooking – what’s more important, your text or your child?

 • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – they can easily catch fire.

 • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.

 • Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen rolls.

 • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.

 • Take care when cooking with hot oil – it sets alight easily. If the oil starts to smoke – it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.

Candles also pose dangers if not treated with care. Last year nearly 1,000 house fires nationwide were started by candles, these fires injured 385 people and resulted in 11 deaths.

If you’re planning on lighting candles to set a romantic mood then make sure you’re using them safely:

 • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and are away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains.

 • 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.

 • 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, particularly with tea-lights.

Another thing to consider is presenting your loved one with an unusual gift: the gift of life in the form of a smoke alarm!

A smoke alarm might not sound romantic and you could well end up with a night on the sofa, but you’ll sleep soundly knowing your loved one is protected from the risk of fire.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “We don’t want to take all the romance out of Valentine’s Day so by all means get the flowers or chocolates but a smoke alarm is the true gift of life.

“Smoke alarms provide vital early warning at the first sign of fire giving you and your Valentine time to get safely out before calling us in.”

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