Candle Safety

During 2005, an estimated 15,600 home structure fires started by candles were reported to local fire departments across the nation. These fires resulted in an estimated 150 civilian deaths, 1,270 civilian injuries and an estimated direct property loss of $539 million. Homes include dwellings, duplexes, manufactured housing and apartments.

Facts and figures
  • Although home candle fires fell 8% from 2004 to 2005, more than twice as many were reported in 2005 as in 1990.
  • Candle fires accounted for an estimated 4% of all reported home fires in 2005.
  • Thirty-eight percent (38%) of home candle fires started in the bedroom, resulting in 41% of the associated civilian deaths.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 13% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
  • More than half of all candle fires started when something that could burn, such as furniture, mattresses, bedding, curtains, or decorations, was too close to the candle.
  • Falling asleep was a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 26% of the associated deaths.
  • The top five days for home candle fires were Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year's Day, New Year's Eve, and Halloween.
Never leave a burning candle unattended

Safe Candle Use
  • Use candle holders that
    • Are sturdy
    • Won't tip over easily
    • Are made from materials that can't burn
    • Are large enough to collect dripping wax
  • Place candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface - away from edges and any place where they could be knocked over by children or pets.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair away from the flame.
  • Keep candle wicks trimmed to one-quarter inch.
  • Extinguish candles when they burn down to within two inches of their holder or any decorative material.
  • Extinguish candles carefully. Do not leave the room until wicks have stopped glowing.
  • Do not leave children unattended in a room with a lit candle.
Candles and Holidays
  • During December, there are nearly twice as many candle fires as are averaged during the other 11 months.
  • Keep candles away from natural and artificial Christmas trees.
  • Keep candles away from holiday decorations.
  • Place burning candles where they can't be bumped or brushed against.
  • Arrange table candles safely away from flammable centerpieces and hanging decorations.
During Power Outages
  • Avoid using candles for emergency lighting.
  • If your electrical service goes out, use flashlights and battery-powered lamps when possible.
  • Don't carry lit candles.
  • Don't use a candle for light when adding kerosene or any flammable fuel to a heater, lantern, or other device. The flame could ignite the fumes.
  • Extinguish all candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
Candles and Children
  • Supervise children who are in a room with burning candles.
  • Store candles, matches, and lighters up high and out of children's sight and reach.
  • Don't allow children or teens to burn candles in their bedroom.
  • Don't let children play with candles or dripping wax
  • Don't let children play with combustible materials near candles.
Reducing the Risk
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Extinguish all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Fire District 6 discourages the use of candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn, like bedding, curtains, blinds, wallpaper, upholstered furniture, piles of clothing, newspapers, and magazines.
  • Keep candles away from flammable liquids.
  • Place lit candles away from windows and doorways, where drafts could bring combustibles in contact with the flame.


 

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