Popular skin creams can catch fire, firefighters warn

PUBLISHED: 13:09 15 June 2017

Fifteen people have died in related fires across London in thelast three years

Fifteen people have died in related fires across London in thelast three years


Firefighters have warned of the dangers of flammable skin creams after 15 people wearing them have died in fires in London in the last three years - including a victim in Newham.

As a campaign for National Carers’ Week, London Fire Brigade pointed out that many common moisturisers contain flammable parrafin and petroleum.

These spread to bedclothes and are not easily washed out - meaning the safety reason is even bigger when you’re in bed.

Dan Daly, the Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, said: “It’s a horrific reality but if you’re wearing creams with flammable ingredients and you accidently drop ash or a match, you are literally setting yourself on fire.

“Dropping cigarettes or matches onto clothing is dangerous but when flammable creams are involved, this really increases the chance of a fire starting and becoming much more intense.”

He added that this shocking information is particularly important to carers because: “The people most vulnerable to fires are older people, and those with mobility problems, and it’s exactly these people who tend to rely on emollient creams. If they are smokers too, it’s a deadly combination.

Dan stressed that at-risk people ought to switch to a non-flammable brand and should never be allowed to smoke unsupervised or in bed.

Now the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is pushing for all creams that contain pariffin to carry a fire risk warning.

London Fire Brigade top tips:

• Smokers and people who use lighters or matches should switch to a non flammable emollient cream (NHS advice for low-paraffin products)

• Never allow someone to smoke unsupervised if they have dementia, mental health problems or are prone to falling asleep while smoking. Look out for tell-tale signs such as burn marks on bedding or clothing.

• Quitting smoking is the best option but switching to vaping also reduces the fire risk.

• Never smoke in bed.

• Use fire-retardant bedding and night clothes.

• Regularly wash bedding and clothes with a biological washing powder but remember, that doesn’t always remove the flammable residue.

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