West Sussex firefighters warn about candle danger

FIREFIGHTERS are reminding couples to be safe around candles this Valentine’s Day.

Candles and tea lights can be a recipe for disaster if they are not used in the right way. Cooking is historically the biggest cause of house fires across the county and with many people preparing a romantic meal for a loved one, the risk of a fire increases.

Jackie Boyle, community risk reduction officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Our firefighters are the last people you want to see when you’re having a romantic night in, so we would just ask people to take a little extra care on Valentine’s Day. The flame from a candle or a tea light can very quickly ignite clothing or a nearby curtain if they are placed too close or get knocked over. Candles that are left to burn unattended can be particularly dangerous.

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“Tea lights have now become increasingly popular but many people are still unaware of the associated dangers. The bases reach incredibly high temperatures and if they are placed directly on a combustible surface, like a television or an acrylic bath, they can quickly melt the plastic and cause a fire. Be safe and use a candleholder or a heat resistant saucer.

“If you are planning to cook your other half a romantic meal, don’t be tempted to get distracted and leave pans on the hob, if you get called away from the oven, take them off the heat. It only takes a few moments for a fire to start and that’s definitely something you want kept off your valentine’s menu!”

Advice to help you have a fire-proof Valentine’s night:

.If you’re cooking and get called away from the cooker for any reason, take your pans off the heat

.Use a non-flammable holder or a heat resistant surface for your candles and tea lights

.Don’t leave candles or tea lights burning unattended and make sure you extinguish them before going to sleep

.Don’t place tea lights on soft furnishings or plastic

.Check your smoke alarm is working

Need advice? Contact the Community Risk Reduction team on 01243 642878 or log onto www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire.