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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Valentine’s Day: Cooking, candles and smoke, oh my!

Recent rumours that we’re headed for a triple dip recession will have tons of us skipping the romantic meals out this year and opting for an intimate evening in. This means more cooking, more candles and potentially more fires if we’re not careful.

To help you reduce your risk, we’ve put together some simple safety tips you can follow, you’re welcome!

Cooking tips

From 2011 to 2012, cooking appliances were the main source of ignition for 19, 612 accidental house fires. That’s over 52% of all domestic fires.

So before you get your Heston hat on, swat up on these safety tips:

     1.   Never leave pans unattended
It’s important that you have complete control of all your appliances and the substances they contain. If you need to leave the room, take your pans off the heat.

      2.   Don’t use matches or lighters to light gas stoves
When you use matches and lighters it may take several attempts to create a spark, during which time, excess gas will enter the room. Opt for a long-reach, gas fire lighter instead. It’ll also keep your hands away from the flame.

      3.   Ensure saucepan handles are turned out to either side of the cooker
This means that they’re not hovering over a flame, which could cause an ignition. It also means that handles aren’t protruding from the front of the cooker, so you’re less likely to knock it over. 

      4.   Cook before you crack open the wine
It’s easy to become lax with safety when alcohol’s involved!

      5.   Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stove
This means oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels or curtains, food packaging and loose sleeves.

Candle safety

Candles aren’t the worst culprits for starting domestic fires, but from 2011 to 2012, they were responsible for 952 accidental ignitions.

But you don’t have to cut candles out of Valentine’s Day altogether - you can just follow some simple guidelines:

      1.   Never place a lit candle directly on a surface
You can use a candle warmer, candle lantern, candle burner or candle tray – anything that’ll keep the candle firmly in place and off the bare surface.
Protect candles from draughts, curtains and other fabrics
Keep the flame contained with candle lanterns and other safe accessories.

      3.   Never go to sleep when candles are lit
Candles are often used to create a relaxed environment, so it’s easily done. If you start to feel drowsy, extinguish the flame.

      4.   Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets
Animals and kids may knock candles over or burn themselves.

      5.   Never move a candle once it’s lit
If you want to take a candle into another room, put the flame out first and allow the candle to cool before moving it.

      6.   Extinguish the flame with a snuffer or inverted metal spoon
This way, you get to avoid all of the problems associated with blowing hot wax.

Smoke alarm checks

It’s extremely surprising (and highly unnecessary) that in the case of 14, 891 fires in 2011 - 2012, there was no smoke alarms present. And in 7,852 cases, there was an alarm present, but didn’t operate.

Make sure your alarm’s working properly with this checklist:
      1.   Make sure there’s a smoke alarm fitted on every level of your home
You never know where an ignition might occur.

      2.   Change your battery annually
Most batteries last around a year, so it’s best to make a point of changing them every year.

      3.   Check your smoke alarm weekly
You can do this by pressing the button on your alarm until it sounds.

      4.   Vacuum the inside of your alarm every two years
You can open up your alarm case, or if it doesn’t open, hoover through the holes. This’ll make sure there’s no dust on the sensors. 

      5.   Replace your alarm every 10 years
You should buy an entirely new unit to replace the old one.

Author bio
Natasha Sabin is an avid blogger and fire safety enthusiast. She’s been let loose by Fire Safety Suppliers to share new, exciting, and somewhat disturbing developments in the world of fire. Email, or visit