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Christmas fire safety

Candle Fire Safety

Candle Fire Safety Week: Snuff out the fire risk

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Fire and Rescue Services across the country are asking people to take care this Candle Fire Safety Week (23-29 November) and snuff out the risk of fire in their homes.

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 Guy Fawkes’ night and Christmas.

But with candle fires resulting in around 350 casualties each year, the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service are asking people to take extra care with candles this winter - nearly 40% of all fires started by candles 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 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.  

Bev Whorwood, Community Safety Manager said:

“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. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by testing your alarm regularly and by practising your escape routes.” 

To help you enjoy your candles safely, the Fire Kills campaign has offered some tips for this Candle Fire Safety Week:

  • 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.
  • Put candles out with a snuffer or a spoon - sparks can fly if you blow them out.
  • Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder. These candles are designed to liquify when heated to maximise fragrance.
  • Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly. 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.  

Chimney Fire Safety


With summer drawing to a close, Chimney Fire Safety Week (7 –13 September) provides a timely reminder to make sure that your chimney is ready for the winter months ahead.  As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Servce are urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep. 

Open fires not only warm up a home, but also create a unique relaxing ambience.  With the numbers of people using open fires growing, the Fire Kills campaign has provided some top tips for safer chimneys.        

  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers        
  • Make sure embers are properly put out  before you go to bed        
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained

Station Manager Beverley Whorwood, Prevention Manager explains:  “With the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again.  In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home."

  • Smokeless coals At least once a year
  • Wood Up to four times a year
  • Bituminous coal Twice a year
  • Oil Once a year
  • Gas Once a year

Station Manager Whorwood  adds: “Latest statistics show that there were 6,000 chimney fires England in 2013/14, but most chimney fires are preventable.  

“All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep.

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You can also view the 'Don't drink and fry' campaign on Youtube, by clicking here or the 'Hot Date' campaign on Youtube, by clicking here.