MFRS urges people to 'snuff out the fire risk' this Candle Fire Safety Week

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is urging people to take care and snuff out the risk of fires in their home as part of Candle Fire Safety Week (14-20th October).

With winter fast approaching, a few candles scattered around the room can lend a warm glow to an evening in or add some festive cheer to the season’s celebrations.

But with candle fires resulting in around 300 casualties each year, MFRS is backing the Fire Kills campaign and asking people to take extra care with candles this winter.

Group Manager Mark Thomas said: “Around a quarter of all fires started by candles attended by fire and rescue services result in a death or injury.

“The most important step you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe is to ensure your home has working smoke alarms.”

To prevent candle fires from starting in your home, you should make sure your candles are kept away from flammable materials like curtains, carpets and other fabrics, and ensure candles are put out when you leave the room, even if just for a moment.

GM Thomas added: “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.

“You should consider using LED battery-operated candles instead of ordinary ones. But if you must use real candles, place them with extra care, away from curtains, pets and children, and always remember to put them out when you leave the room.

“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 call 999. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by testing your alarm every week and by practicing your escape routes.”

Top Tips for staying safe with candles

● 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.
● Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder. These candles are designed to liquefy when heated to maximise fragrance.
● Fit smoke alarms and test them now and monthly. 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.

For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call 0800 731 5958.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over.