With winter snow and ice affecting much of the country causing power outages in the hardest hit areas, a few candles scattered round the house may give a comforting glow but careless use results in over 350 casualties and several deaths in the UK every year.
Candles, particularly the scented variety are more often lit to create atmosphere and bring a peaceful mood to dining and living rooms at any time of year and far away from our bleak mid winter the Black Sabbath rocker Ozzy Osbourne was lucky to escape with minor burns to his face and hand after trying to tackle a fire caused by an unattended candle at his Beverly Hills home last week.
Ozzy’s wife Sharon had gone to bed leaving a candle lit in the living room and was roused by the sound of the candle and its glass vase exploding. At first she put the noise down to the housekeeper arriving until the smell of burning reached the bedroom. Be interesting to know if the LA glitterati bother with smoke alarms. Ozzie tried to put out the fire only to singe his trademark long hair and eyebrows, whilst Sharon threw water on the burning candle oil making the problem that much greater.
It was left to the Beverly Hills Fire Department to extinguish the blaze.
With over 40% of all fires started by candles result in a death or injury it is wise to follow these tips so you can enjoy candles safely.
Put candles in a secure purpose made holder on a flat surface and away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains. Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, but away from drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, flaring, and excessive dripping. Never leave children alone with lit candles. Put candles out using a “snuffer” or spoon when you leave the room particularly when retiring to bed. Blowing then out can cause sparks that may smoulder undetected. Keep the wax pool clear of wick trimmings, matches and debris that could ignite to cause a larger flame.
It’s advisable to retrim the wick to ¼ inch (6mm) each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning and flaring. Don’t carry candles around once they are lit to avoid spilling burning oil. Do not burn several candles close together, particularly tea lights, as this might cause flaring and a large oil pool. And of course make sure you have a working smoke alarm.