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Friday ushers in the year of the Dog and the London Fire Brigade is urging revellers to take extra care when using candles, tea light and incense sticks as part of Chinese New Year this weekend.
In the last year, the Brigade was called to 344 incidents involving candle, tea light, incense stick fires and firework-related fires, equivalent to over 6 fires a week.
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.
“Fires typically happen when candles and lanterns are left next to curtains or furniture or left to burn unattended. Only last week, firefighters were called to an incident in Thonrton Heath caused by a tea light. While there were no injuries the property was very badly damaged and shows how dangerous a candle fire can be.”
• 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; and
• 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.”
• 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 ; and
• never give sparklers to a child under five and make sure you stray with older children to make sure they use sparklers safely.