Candle Fire Safety

Candles Bring Risk of Fire

Candles have become increasingly popular in U.S. homes, whether to create atmosphere, release fragrance or keep insects away. But this trend brings increasing tragedy as well. On average, there were 29 home candle fires reported per day in 2007-2011.1
Most candle fires occur when:
  • Burning candles are left unattended.
  • Combustible materials are left too close to the flames.
  • December is the peak month for candle fires, due in large part to their use in holiday decorating and during winter storms.

Stop Candle Fires Before They Start

Follow these candle fire safety tips when using candles in any room of your home:
  • Place candles on stable furniture where children and pets cannot knock them over.
  • Never fall asleep while candles are burning.
  • Trim wicks to 1/4 inch before lighting and use non-combustible holders to catch wax drippings.
  • Extinguish candles when you leave a room or when the candles burn within 2 inches of their holders.
  • Keep candles away from holiday decorations, papers, books, curtains, blinds, flammable liquids, clothing, bedding and lampshades.

Fire Safety When the Lights Go Off

Your first reaction in a power outage may be to reach for a candle. However, choosing a battery-operated light is a safer option. If you must use a candle, take these precautions:
  • Don't walk while carrying a lit candle.
  • Always supervise children who use candles for light.
  • Don't use a candle to check pilot lights or to provide light when fueling equipment.
1Reproduced with permission from the NFPA web site, copyright © 2015, National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA. All rights reserved.

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