Take extra care with candles to reduce the risk of fire

Image of candles recently blown out

Take extra care with candles to reduce the risk of fire in your home

Candles mark special occasions and create a special atmosphere. They also bring fire into your home. In 2017, 234 fires in London were connected to candle use. Though they create a beautiful warm glow, candles need handling with care.

With darker days and colder weather, it is no surprise 70 per cent of annual candle sales are made between October and February.  Between these same months every year candle-related house fires rise sharply, peaking at more than double the summer average in December.

The most important step you can take to keep you and your family 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 and ensure candles are put out when you leave the room, even for a moment.

CityWest Homes Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing, Sarah Stevenson-Jones said:

"Candle light is beautiful at this time of year, but candles left unattended or too close to an open window, pose a real risk of starting a fire. You should never leave pets or children alone in a room with a lit candle, incense or oil burner. Since having a family, I have personally replaced over time all my candles with battery operated candles, it’s not only safer but it also means I don’t have to clean any wax drips or smoke deposits up!"

London Fire Brigade advice - how to use candles and incense safely

  • make sure you put out any candles, incense and oil burners when you leave the room and especially before bed
  • these items should always be held firmly in heat-resistant holders and placed on a stable surface where they won’t be knocked over
  • keep them away from materials that might catch fire – that's things like curtains, furniture, clothes and hair
  • be especially careful if you have a lot of flammable items in your home, like collections of books, magazines or papers
  • be aware that tea lights get very hot and without proper holders can melt through plastic surfaces like a TV or bath
  • to avoid accidents keep candles and other naked flames out of reach of children and pets.
  • LED candles can be a great alternative – they're safe even if you fall asleep or forget to blow them out!

Struggling to pay your energy bill?

If you are finding bills hard to pay, please don't use candles as an alternative heat source – and never ever use BBQs indoors or on balconies to cook or keep warm.

Please contact us if energy costs are getting beyond your budget.

For more information about fire prevention in the home visit www.cwh.org.uk/fire-safety