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Candle safety

Candle related fires result in around 350 casualties each year. Forty per cent of candle fires result in injury or death.

Up to five house fires each day are caused by unattended candles, with most breaking out between 9pm and midnight. This is often in the living room or bedroom but increasingly in the bathroom where they are used around the bath-top.

How to stay safe when using candles

  • Never leave a candle unattended
  • Remember to extinguish candles before you go to sleep or leave the house at any time
  • Ensure the candle is standing upright and firmly fixed in a suitable container or holder. This should be designed to withstand the heat of the burning candle and hold the melting wax safely
  • Always place candles on a heat-resistant surface. Tealights can melt plastic surfaces such as a bathtub or television, especially if they are not in a suitable container
  • Only melt the recommended product, such as wax melts, in their correct container 
  • Keep candles away from curtains, blinds, other combustible furniture, bedding, fabrics and clothing
  • Do not place candles underneath shelving or furniture units 
  • Keep candles out of draughts and away from open windows, other heat sources or direct sunlight
  • Keep lit candles away from the reach of children and pets
  • Keep space between candles if you are using more than one. A 10 centimetre gap is best
  • Never lean across a lit candle. It's too easy to catch hair or loose clothing
  • Do not move a candle whilst lit
  • Always extinguish the flame with the correct product lid - if using a jar type candle with lid included - a spoon or 'snuffer'. These remove the oxygen from the flame and ensure it safely extinguishes. Blowing does not always completely kill the flame or smouldering wick
  • Never use outdoor candles indoors
  • Never play with candles 

Use flameless candles

Flameless candles, often known as LED, battery operated or electric candles, offer a safe alternative while providing the glow of the real thing.

  • You can leave them unattended
  • If you forget to switch off before sleeping, they are safer and less likely to cause an accidental fire
  • If they are accidentally knocked over by anyone they are not going to cause a fire or injury
  • Some may be used outdoors (if specified by the manufacturer)

Staying safe during special occasions

People use and enjoy candles, tealights and divas at seasonal, festive and religious holidays such as Diwali, Christmas and birthdays.

These are also times when we can be busy and more distracted than usual. Please think about our advice and keep yourself, your family, your friends and homes safe when choosing to light candles.

Smoke alarms

The most important thing you can do to keep your home safe is ensure that you have fitted, working smoke alarms on every floor and test them regularly. 

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