Candle safety in your home


With the days growing darker and winter setting in, a few candles scattered round the room can add a warm glow in your home in an evening. But with over 200 candle fires recorded in 2020 within London, we would like you to take extra care with candles this winter.
Have a working smoke alarm in your home
The most important step you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe is to ensure your home has a working smoke alarm.
A working smoke alarm 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 practising your escape routes.
Tips on how to use candles safely
To help you enjoy your candles safely, here are some tips:
  • 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
  • Put candles out with a snuffer or a spoon - sparks can fly if you blow them out
  • Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder. These candles are designed to liquify when heated to maximise fragrance.
Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly. 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 – practise your escape route.
Benefits of flameless candles
Sometimes called LED, battery-operated, or electric candles - flameless candles have a number of advantages:
  • You can leave them unattended
  • You don't have to worry about pets or children knocking them over
  • If you doze off while a flameless candle is on, it's not a problem
  • You can use them outdoors
  • You can buy flickering, rechargeable, coloured and waterproof versions
  • But if you want to continue to use wax candles, take a look at how you can use them more safely...
Take extra care when you're celebrating
Diwali, Bonfire Night, Halloween and Christmas can see us light candles, dress up, and display lots of decorations – increasing the risk of fire.  Make sure all your decorations are kept away from naked flames
If you're celebrating with fancy dress, always check that costumes are fire retardant in accordance to European standard EN71-2. Unfortunately, costumes don't have to be made to the same safety standards as regular clothes, which means they are a greater fire risk.
What to do if clothes catch fire?
If there's an accident with a candle and your clothes catch fire, don’t run. Try and remember ‘stop, drop, roll' – which means:
Stop – don’t run, you’ll make the flames worse
Drop – lie down on the ground at once
Roll – in heavy fabric or a fire blanket to smother the flames, though just on the ground will help
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