Be Safe this Valentine’s Day say firefighters as they back national campaign

Firefighters are backing a national campaign to highlight the everyday accidents that can cause fires in homes across West Yorkshire.

Ensure candles are kept away from flammable objects and are never left unattended

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is urging people to be extra careful on Valentine’s Day and ensure candles are kept away from flammable objects and are never left unattended.

This February, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is running their annual Fire Kills campaign to raise awareness of fire safety in the home. Fire chiefs are urging everyone to be extra vigilant when using candles and other heat sources.

Dave Walton, Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO), said: “Fire safety should always be a priority, but it’s especially important during the winter months when more people are using candles and open fires.

"We want everyone to have a happy and safe Valentine’s Day, and that means being aware of the dangers from leaving candles unattended. Candles can often seem harmless, but they can cause serious damage if not used properly. It only takes a few minutes for a small flame to ignite a large fire - something that could cost lives if it's not caught in time.”

According to the NFCC, there were over 11,000 candle-related fires in the UK between 2015 and 2019 resulting in over 140 injuries and ten deaths. To avoid these tragedies, it is important that everyone follows safety guidelines when using candles.

DCFO Walton said: “We urge people to take extra precautions when lighting candles - never leave them unattended and make sure you place them somewhere safe where children or pets cannot knock them over.”

The NFCC recommends that all candles are placed on a stable surface where they won't be knocked over easily, this could be a shelf or mantelpiece away from any flammable objects such as curtains or furniture. It is also important that people never leave burning candles unattended; always blow out any lit candles before leaving the room or going to bed. If anyone has pets or young children in your home, it is also advisable that they use LED flameless tea lights instead of traditional wax ones as these are much safer.

Fire safety also includes having an effective escape plan in case of an emergency situation. Everyone should have an evacuation plan for their home so they know where to go and how to get out quickly in case of a fire emergency. Also, households should make sure they have working smoke alarms installed on every level of their home as these devices will alert occupants if there is ever a fire present in the house. 

Anyone living in West Yorkshire who has fire safety concerns can request a free Safe and Well visit from WYFRS if they meet the eligibility criteria. As part of the visit WYFRS will identify any potential fire risks in the home, help residents put together an escape plan and ensure they have working smoke alarms.

Those wanting to find out if they are eligible can call 0800 5874536 or complete an online form here. Anyone who is deemed as being low risk, WYFRS offer a free interactive online resource to help residents to conduct their own fire safety checks.