Candle Fire Safety

Three unlit candlesThe use of candles in the home has greatly increased over the past few years. Hand in hand with that is the increase in the number of fires caused by their misuse. Unsafe use of candles is an invitation to disaster.

Lower The Risk

Candle fires generally don't happen when people use them to accompany a meal. That's because they are generally attended during mealtime. Candle fires do happen in places like bedrooms and bathrooms where people use them as mood enhancers. Unfortunately, people can fall asleep with a candle still burning or leave the room without snuffing out the flame. Candles should NEVER be left burning unattended! Candle use in bedrooms is discouraged. Almost half of all candle fires start in the bedroom. If you must use candles in your bedroom, make sure they are not close to flammable articles such as bedding, curtains, blinds, piles of clothing, magazines and books or upholstered furniture. A good rule of thumb to follow is to keep candles at least a meter from anything that can burn. Avoid putting candles anywhere near windows. Curtains might be blown into a candle flame. And a breeze can fan the flames if a fire should occur.

Tips For The Safe Use Of Candles:

  • Keep lit candles away from combustible material such as furniture, wall coverings, trees or plants, and other decorative item.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended for any length of time. Extinguish the candle before you leave the room.
  • Candles should only be burned in non-combustible containers such as glass, metal, or ceramic. The flame should not extend above the opening of the container.
  • Candle holders should be sturdy to prevent accidental toppling and should catch wax drippings.
  • Use extra caution when lighting and using candles in the presence of small children and pets. Also keep matches and lighters out of children's reach.
  • The use of candles in sleeping rooms is highly discouraged. If candles are used in rooms where the potential for sleeping occurs, it is highly recommended that an additional smoke alarm be installed in that room as well as in the hall immediately outside of the room.
  • Never burn candles that have been manufactured with decorative items such as cinnamon sticks or plastic items imbedded in the wax. These items may cause the candle to flare up and spread the fire.
  • Choose good quality candles with features such as non-dripping wax

If The Power Goes Out

Many people keep candles on hand for power outages. Flashlights and battery powered lamps are a better idea. Never carry lit candles. It's too easy to drop them. The Emergency Management page has more tips regarding preparing for emergencies like power outages.

Home For The Holidays

December and early January is the most likely time for candle fires to start. That's because people associate candles with the holiday season. Fires can start when candles are placed too close to presents, decorations and Christmas trees.For More Information on candles visit www.candle-safety.org

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