Fire and rescue services are urging people to take care during Candle Fire Safety Week and snuff out the risk of fire in their homes.
They say that with the days growing darker and winter setting in, a few candles scattered round the room can lend a warm glow to an evening in or add some festive cheer to the season’s celebrations such as Halloween, Guy Fawkes’ night, Diwali and Christmas.
But with candle fires resulting in over 350 casualties each year, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service are asking people to take extra care with candles this winter - more than 40 per cent of all fires started by candles result in a death or injury. In 2011/12 there were 797 fires started by candles resulting in eight fatalities and 327 casualties.
Dave Sheppard, Borough Commander for Eastbourne, “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. 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.
“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. A working smoke alarm can give you the vital time you need to get out, stay out and call 999.”