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Snuff out the risk of candle fires this winter

Nationally, candle fires result in over 300 casualties each year Photo: PA

Residents in Cumbria are being warned about the dangers of lighting candles this winter.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) is supporting the Fire Kills campaign to educate communities about the risk of fire in their homes.

Statistics show that nearly 40% of all fires started by candles result in death or injury.

Nationally, candle fires result in over 300 casualties each year.

CFRS says the most important step to take is to make sure your home has working smoke alarms.

It's also important to make sure that candles are kept away from flammable materials, and that they aren't left burning when you leave the room.

The Prevention Station Manager at CFRS says that even with precautions in place, it's crucial to prepare for the worst:

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.

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 then call 999.

Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by testing your smoke alarms regularly and by practicing and maintaining your escape routes within your property."

– Mark Ducie, Prevention Station Manager, CFRS

Mark also offers some tips for people to enjoy candles safely:

  • 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. Never place onto plastic baths and on top of televisions.
  • 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.
  • Have working smoke alarms; test them now and always as a monthly routine. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out of your property, then stay out and call 999.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do if a fire should occur – know and practice your escape routes with all the family or visitors.

For a FREE Safe and Well visit from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service call 0800 358 4777.