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Cosy Christmas or Christmas Catastrophe: Candle Fire Safety at home

Cosy Christmas or Christmas Catastrophe: Candle Fire Safety at home
05/12/2021

As the winter months creep in and holiday season draws ever closer, thousands of households across the UK dial up the heating and start lighting candles for good measure and that festive glow. This is perfect for creating a cosy or hygge atmosphere, however when used without appropriate safety measures candles can be a serious fire risk.

-Candles are the cause of over fifty fires everyday in the UK

In a study quoted by the ministry of housing (2011) it was discovered that candles cause over fifty fires every day in the UK. This figure is double its summer average during December and the number of candle related fires remains dramatically high from October through to February.

We are not suggesting that you should immediately throw all your candles in the bin – we love a scented candle as much as the next person – but your candles must always be treated with caution.

Key Takeaways - The most common causes of candle fires - How to prevent candle fires - Best products for at home safety

THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF CANDLE FIRES CANDLES FALLING/POOR PLACEMENT First and foremost, after lighting the candle you will then find the perfect spot to place it. Some popular areas include mantlepieces, dinner tables, shelves and beside bathtubs. Where you place your candle can be the difference between whether an accidental fire occurs, therefore it should require some thought.

TOP TIPS:

1- In homes with children or animals be sure to place candles higher up e.g. the mantlepiece instead of the coffee table. 2 - Keep the candle away from any edges, if you are placing it on a table ensure it is safely in the middle 3 - Be aware of other nearby objects such as house plants, Christmas cards and Christmas decorations that could catch fire, place the candle well away from anything potentially flammable 4 - Flat surfaces are of course the only surface you should place a candle on. This ensures there is no risk of it sliding off or being knocked. For example, if there is a stack of books move them safely out of the way rather than placing the candle on top (this may look nice in stock photos, but believe us, it is a hazard)

Due the risk of children and animals accidentally causing a fire this mandatory pictogram often appears on candles, or alternatively the candle can display the text ‘burn out of reach of children and pets’

UNATTENDED CANDLES

One of the main causes of candle fires is leaving your candle unattended. This can be either when you head to another room, are distracted, or accidentally fall asleep in a room with a lit candle.

As festive as a Christmas candle may be, it is good practice to remind oneself that they are not just another decoration and can heat up to 1400°C on the flame’s outer core.

Candles can heat up to 1400⁰c Avoid causing an unattended candle fire by ensuring all candles are blown out before leaving the room or heading to sleep. Also, be aware of whether the candle is in your eyeline, if it’s not, it’s best to blow it out to avoid a candle fire.

As it is a main hazard, all candles must display this pictogram “never leave a burning candle unattended”. candle holding

MOVING CANDLES (THAT ARE LIT) Another main factor that leads to fires is when the candles are moved. Once a candle has been lit it should be placed down and not re positioned unless it is blown/snuffed out. The risks involved here are as one might expect; trips, dropping, slipping and burning the hands are to name just a few.

It can also result in the candle catching objects such as curtains or decorations whilst it is being moved; best to avoid the risk and leave a candle where it is once it has been lit.

Do not burn candles on or near anything that can catch fire POOR VENTILATION The importance of efficient ventilation in the room a candle is burning in is often misjudged. This safety measure can include open windows, doors and air conditioning, offering a flow of air.

If a room with a candle burning has poor ventilation it can be life threatening. When fire burns with a limited amount of air, carbon monoxide is produced as a bi-product and this can have detrimental consequences.

To learn more about carbon dioxide and why you should have a carbon monoxide alarm on every floor, by your garage door and by all sleeping areas in your home, read our blog Carbon Monoxide 101.

WRONG CANDLE HOLDER As before mentioned, candles can heat up to 1400°C therefore using the correct candle holder is a must. Most in store candle holders are created to withstand the heat of the type of candle they enclose. However, when buying stand-alone candles care must be taken to select an appropriate holder.

Without a proper candle holder, even tealights can melt their container and potentially cause extreme damage to household items, such as televisions, due to the candle’s ability to melt plastic.

Additionally, it is important to ensure that the holder is stable, so that it is sturdy on the surface and won’t topple over.

TOO MANY CANDLES TOGETHER The more the merrier! Or not… A collection of candles can both look and smell incredible, however placing candles too near each other could quickly result in a devastating fire. The candles (if too close together) can join forces and create fires that can become out of control in seconds.

We don’t want to put a stop to you creating beautiful Christmas displays at home, candles can create very festive environments when there is more than one burning, but you must make sure that you keep your candles socially distanced!

Always leave at least 10cm between burning candles

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