Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) is urging people to think about using battery-powered LED candles rather than the real thing this Halloween and into the winter. 

Leaving naked flames around the house can have devastating consequences and sparks hundreds of fires nationwide every year. 

Creating spooky effects with candles, decorations and fancy dress can be great fun at Halloween – but it can also create the perfect recipe for an accidental fire. 

Switching to LED candles takes away all of the risk because: 

  • You can leave them unattended 
  • You don't have to worry about pets or children knocking them over 
  • If you doze off while a flameless candle is on, it's not a problem 

Candle fires are one of the most common causes of house fires and can happen to anyone. 

Mike Tremellen, prevention lead at Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It’s easy to think that tealights in a bathroom can be harmless but they can get very hot and an incident a few years ago resulted in a bathroom fire. There had been no candle holders used and the material that the bath was made from created a toxic and potentially life-threatening gas.  

“Luckily, the residents were still awake and able to get out of the property. However, this could have been a very different ending.” 

He added: “This would never have happened with an LED candle, which are becoming more and more popular. We would suggest to our community that they may wish to consider these as a safer method to create a smoke-free and safe atmosphere, especially if you have pets and children in the home. 

“We would also remind residents that having suitable and regularly tested smoke alarms on each floor of their property can make a huge difference to the outcome of any fire-related incident in the home.” 

If you do want to use real candles rather than the battery-powered versions, it’s worth remembering these top tips: 

  • Always extinguish candles before you leave a room. 
  • Always use a suitable holder when burning candles. Scented candles turn to liquid; always burn them in a suitable glass or metal container that can withstand the heat of the liquid. 
  • Candles should always be placed out of the reach of children and away from areas where pets can get to them. 
  • Put them on a heat-resistant surface and be especially careful with tea lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic. 
  • Extinguish candles before moving them and don’t let anything fall into the hot wax, like matches. 

Many Halloween costumes can easily catch fire too so it’s also important to know what to do if this happens. 

If there's an accident with a candle and your clothes catch fire, don’t run around. Try to remember ‘stop, drop, roll' – which means:  

  • Stop – don’t run around, you’ll make the flames worse 
  • Drop – lie down on the ground at once 
  • Roll – it makes it harder for the flames to spread. 

It’s worth checking that costumes are fire retardant in accordance with European standard EN71-2. 

For more fire safety information visit the CFRS web pages on the council’s website.