London Fire Brigade

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster safely this Chinese New Year

27 January 2017

London Fire Brigade is urging people to take extra care when celebrating Chinese New Year in the capital this weekend.

Candles, lanterns and fireworks are all traditional ways of celebrating Chinese New Year but new figures  revealed that 283 fires were caused by candles in 2016 and as a result three people died.

Mark Hazelton, the Brigade’s group manager for community safety, said: “We don’t want to dampen the New Year spirit but we would like to urge people to take care when using candles and lanterns.

“We are reminding people to never leave candles or lanterns unattended and not to place them too close to flammable items and materials.”

We are issuing these candle safety tips to ensure people have a safe and enjoyable Chinese New Year.

Candle safety tips

  • Always use a heat resistant holder on a stable surface, which won't be knocked over - tea lights can melt through plastic surfaces like a TV or bath
  • Keep candles and other hot items away from materials that may catch fire such as curtains, furniture, clothes - and even hair
  • Make sure you put out any candles, incense and oil burners, and incense sticks when you leave the room and especially before bed
  • Keep them out of reach of children and pets

Group manager Hazelton continued: “Fireworks are an also an important and traditional part of Chinese New Year festivities but they should be  treated with caution. Only fireworks with the British Safety Standard 7114 should be used, with the instructions carefully followed.

“We recommend attending organised displays where possible, but those who do choose to put on a home display should follow some simple steps.”

Firework safety tips

  • Do not light fireworks inside the home
  • Store fireworks in dry areas and away from open flames, e.g. the fireplace, kitchen stove or candles
  • Have a bucket of water nearby
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box. Take them out one at a time and put the top back at once. When the box is open, keep it well away from fire and cigarettes
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • Always supervise children around fireworks
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  • Never give sparklers to a child under five and make sure you stray with  older children to make sure they use sparklers safely