Valentine’s Day fire safety warning

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Firefighters are warning couples who may be planning a romantic candle-lit meal on Valentine’s Day to be aware of the dangers of naked flames.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue warned that candles and tealights, if not used properly, could become killers.

Candle fires result in more than 350 casualties each year with over 40 per cent resulting in a death or injury.

Community Fire Safety Officer Jackie Boyle said: “We don’t want to put the dampeners on anyone’s passion so we’re 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.

“Candles that are forgotten about and left unattended can also cause fires if not placed in proper candleholders.”

WSF&R safety tips

. Never leave lit candles unattended. Put burning candles out when you leave the room and make sure they’re completely out at night before you go to bed.

. Place candles carefully. Make sure they 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. (Mainly with tea lights)

. Always put scented candles and tea lights in a heat resistant holder, the metal bases can reach temperatures over three times the boiling point of water.

. Make sure you have a working smoke alarm and test it regularly. An active smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.

. Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do if a fire should occur - practise your escape route.

Comprehensive fire safety advice is free and simple to access at www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire

To find out if you are eligible for a Home Fire Safety Check, call 0800 3286 487 or log onto the website.