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:
- 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.