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Don’t let your Valentine’s Day go up in smoke

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12 Feb 2016
With just two sleeps to go until Valentine’s Day, many Casanovas are starting to think about how to impress that special someone.

But if you’re planning a romantic night, make sure you’re setting hearts, not homes on fire.

When getting ready for that big date, sleek and shiny hair is a must. But if you forget to switch the straightener off, a frizzy fro could be the least of your worries.

Over the past five years, MFB firefighters extinguished 45 Valentine’s Day blazes, from errant candles to kitchen nightmares.

Many of the fires resulted in serious property damage, well and truly throwing cold water on Valentine’s Day plans.

In one incident, a candle left burning on the front porch of a home set a tablecloth on fire which spread to engulf a wicker chair.

In another case, a romantic dinner turned sour when cooking oil overheated and ignited, causing extensive damage to the stove, range hood and surrounding cupboards.

MFB Acting Commander David Harris said distraction and carelessness were common causes of fires which could be easily avoided.

“Candlelight, oil burners and roaring fires are synonymous with romance so we expect to see a spike in their use on Valentines’ Day,” he said.

“But left unattended, they can be deadly.

“Some of the worst fires we’ve attended have been caused by tiny tealight candles.”

A/Cmdr Harris said it was common for people to light candles and fall asleep, or forget to watch food cooking on the stove.

“The last thing you want is for firefighters to crash your Valentine’s Day,” he said.

“So make sure the only thing smoking is your outfit.”

Valentine’s Day safety tips:

  • Take care with candles, incense sticks and oil burners. Keep them away from flammable items such as curtains and always blow them out when you leave the room.
  • Keep clothing and blankets away from fireplaces.
  • Keep matches, candles and lighters away from children.
  • Ensure electrical appliances, such as hair straighteners, are turned off after use
  • Consider using a timer while cooking to remind you to monitor your cooking
  • Only working smoke alarms save lives. Check yours is working monthly and change the battery annually.

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The Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC) recommends monthly testing of smoke alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

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