Warnings given on National Burn Awareness Day

Wednesday, 16th October 2019

ON National Burn Awareness Day Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to take care when they light candles and oil burners in their homes.

A woman who suffered painful burns when a scented candle she’d lit ignited nail polish remover is urging people to take care when using candles or oil burners.

Deborah (not her real name), from South Staffordshire had lit the candle at her beauty salon to create a relaxing atmosphere for her clients. Unfortunately, as she was preparing for a client’s manicure, the nail polish remover she was using spilt and caught fire. As she tried to put out the flames she suffered burns to her hands which needed hospital treatment.

“I was lucky I wasn’t more seriously hurt,” Deborah said. “It happened very quickly and I just reacted instinctively by trying to pat out the flames. Candles are such a big part of creating a nice atmosphere for people that I suppose I just didn’t think about the dangers. In my business is making people feel pampered and cared for so candles are just a natural thing for me to use. After what happened to me, I now appreciate that they’re a naked flame and I should have blown it out before working near it with chemicals. They shouldn’t be left unattended either.

“I will not be having any real candles in my salon or my house again. I had a lucky escape. Whilst my burns were painful, I shouldn’t have any lasting effects from them. When I think of how much worse things could have been it really pulls me up short. I could have been really badly burned or my salon could have caught fire or one of my clients could have been injured. It doesn’t bear thinking about. We always think ‘it isn’t going to happen to me’ but this time it did and it’s made me really think. No matter how much I like candles, I will be using battery ones from now on.”

Director of Prevent and Protect, Howard Watts said: “Candles are a popular way of providing a cosy atmosphere in people’s homes as the nights draw in. People like their flickering flames and the scented ones can make a room smell really lovely. However, they are still a naked flame and, without proper care and attention can cause a fire.
“Deborah was very lucky she was not more badly injured. Her experience shows how dangerous candles can be.

However, if you don’t want to follow her example by switching to battery powered ‘candles’ please follow our candle safety advice:

  • Never leave, candles, incense or Bukhoor unattended.
  • Always use a holder or a burner
  • Burners and holders should always be put on a flat, non-flammable surface and away from windows.
  • Keep candles, incense or Bukhoor out of reach of children.
  • As with cooking keep you clothing out of the way of the flames.
  • When you have finished with an incense stick douse the tip in water and break it off. The remainder can then be relit later.

You can read more here anything candle safety here: https://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/your-safety/safety-at-home/candle-safety/