Candlelight Service Safety

Christmas is a symbolic time of representations and for traditions.  One such tradition is a candlelight service, whereby the whole service is held in darkness, apart from the light of candles held by the congregation.  However, where there’s fire there’s danger.

As with any activity, a risk assessment should be carried out in advance, to make sure that all necessary precautions are taken and that procedures are in place.  You should consider what fire detection / sprinkler systems are in place and that they are appropriately maintained.

Here are some top tips to keep your congregation safe during a candlelight service:

Candle safety

  • Before your service commences, make sure your congregation are aware of the fire procedures in the Church. This includes location of the fire exits and assembly points.
  • Candles around the church should be placed on flat surfaces and contained in non-flammable holders.
  • If using candlesticks, make sure to use drip protectors/shields to protect hands from dripping wax.
  • When lighting handheld candles, always tilt the unlit candle into the flame. Never tilt a lit candle.
  • Never pass lit candles from person to person.
  • Children should be heavily supervised if they are to hold their own lit candle. It may be worth considering providing battery operated candles for little ones instead.
  • If any wax accidentally gets onto skin, quickly remove it. Immediately run burnt skin under a cold tap and if the burn is severe, seek medical attention.
  • Ensure all candles are properly extinguished after your service. Use a snuffer to put out the flame and dispose of used candles in a metal bucket or bin.  It is a good idea to have a bowl of water handy to stop any smouldering.