Candle Safety

Candles are one of the most common causes of fires in the home. We attend many candle fires in Lancashire each year. Candles burn with a naked flame and can quickly set fire to clothing and soft furnishings.

We’ve put together this guidance to help you and your loved ones stay safe.

If you have any fire safety concerns for yourself or others, please contact us about receiving a Home Fire Safety Check.

Using candles safely

Lighting candles can be beautiful and create a lovely ambience in your home. However, because they burn with a naked flame, they can easily start a fire.

We recommend using flameless candles – which use LEDs – instead of lighting traditional candles.

If you must light a candle, here are some steps you can take to make them safer:

  • Never leave a lit candle unattended.

  • Place them in a proper candle holder.

  • Use a heat-resistant mat underneath the holder, such as a placemat.

  • Keep the flame well away from flammable materials like rugs, carpet, or curtains.

  • Never move a lit candle.

  • Keep all candles out of reach of children or pets.

  • Extinguish all candles before you leave the room or go to sleep.

  • Do not place them on the side of the bath – bathtubs can melt due to the heat.

These tips can make it less likely that you’ll have a fire in your home.

If your candle does start a fire, don’t try to extinguish it on your own. Many people are injured when they try to put a fire out in the heat of the moment. Instead, get out, stay out, and call us out on 999.

Flameless Candles

You can buy flameless – or LED – candles at many retailers or online. These lights are heatless and flameless, using a small bulb to emit light instead of a lit flame.

Flameless candles can create the same ambience in your home as traditional candles but are much safer.

Here are some benefits of LED candles:

  • You can pick up and move them at any time.

  • There’s no need to keep them on a heatproof surface or in a holder.

  • They can’t start a fire, even if they’re placed near fabrics.

  • You can place them directly on the side of a bathtub.

  • They’re ideal for outdoor use.

  • They are available in different colours and designs.

  • They are safe around children and pets.

  • If you forget to turn them off when you leave or fall asleep, this is not a problem.

LED candles are inexpensive and you can even get rechargeable versions so you don’t need to replace the batteries.

How to Extinguish Candles Safely

It might seem obvious to simply blow your candles out. However, we don’t recommend this practice.

Blowing a candle out can cause the flame to spread for a moment, potentially reaching any nearby flammable materials. This might be your clothes, or the curtains if the candle is on the windowsill. Blowing them out can also spray hot, molten wax which can cause burns or damage nearby furniture or furnishings.

Instead, we recommend using a snuffer or a taper to gently dip the wick into the molten wax. This will extinguish the flame with the minimum amount of smoke and with no danger of spreading the flame or spraying hot wax.

Staying Safe During Ceremonies

We understand that many religious ceremonies include the use of candles. Please consider substituting a lit flame with an LED candle, for the reasons of safety.

You’ll find more specific information about staying safe during celebrations and ceremonies on the celebrations safety section of our website. This includes festivals where candles are a prominent feature, including Hannukah and Diwali.

Everyone at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service wants you to stay safe, which is why we offer this advice for religious ceremonies where people often use candles.