Candles responsible for 26 fires last year

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Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service is asking all homeowners not to spoil the romance on Valentine’s Day by neglecting fire safety in the home.

Tragically one person lost their life in 2015 due to a fire attributed to candles or matches, with 26 incidents recorded were candles were responsible for fires at home.

There has been a decrease in the number of fires in the home attributed to candles or matches over the last 12 months and there were 32 incidents recorded in 2014 and 33 in 2013 of the same nature.

This Valentine’s Day, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Walmsley hopes the weekend will not be remembered for the wrong reasons.

“Over the last two years, there has been a decrease in the number of fires at home that were down to candles and matches. This is encouraging, but it is important not to become complacent. One person was fatally injured in 2015, so it is vital to raise awareness of candle safety at home in particular as we approach Valentine’s Day weekend.

“Never leave lit candles unattended – it is important to put burning candles out when you leave a room and make sure they’re completely out at night before you go to bed.

“Make sure that candles are on a stable surface away from flammable objects such as curtains, furniture, bedding, books and magazines. Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause the flame to flare.

“When using tea lights and scented candles, always make sure they are placed in a heat resistant holder as the metal base can reach very high temperatures.

“Also people may be cooking romantic meals this weekend so please also be mindful of kitchen fire safety. More fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home so don’t leave your cooking unattended.

“Make sure that your smoke alarm is working and test it regularly. It is also important to be aware of your escape route at home if a fire was to occur.

“If anyone requires advice of home fire safety, please arrange a free Home Fire Safety Check by calling 028 9260 0477, Text phone/Minicom 028 9262 8800 or go to our Website www.nifrs.org for further information.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Walmsley continued:

“We do not want to see anyone’s Valentine’s weekend ruined, so we are asking people not to put themselves or others at risk. The flame from a candle can quickly ignite a nearby curtain or clothing if it’s placed too close or gets knocked over.

“Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service would ask everyone to make a date with fire safety this weekend and protect themselves and their loved ones from fire”.