Remember that a candle is an open flame. It can easily ignite any combustible nearby.
Facts and Figures
Candle fires are more common around the holidays, because more people use candles and decorations are often near them. December is the peak month for candle fires, with nearly twice the average number of incidents. The majority of holiday candle fires occur on Christmas day followed by New Year's Day and Christmas Eve.
Candles are a source of light and delight when used properly and according to manufacturers’ directions, but how does a little flame become so dangerous?
Thirty-eight percent of candle fires occurred after candles were left unattended, abandoned or inadequately controlled; twenty-three percent occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle; eight percent were started by people (usually children) playing with the candle; Thirteen percent started after the candle user fell asleep.
Four out of 10 home candle fires start in the bedroom, and two out of 10 in common rooms such as living rooms, family rooms or dens. The most common item first ignited by a candle is a mattress or bedding, except in December when decorations are the most common first item.
The following simple candle safety tips are important to remember when using candles:
- NEVER LEAVE A BURNING CANDLE UNATTENDED
- NEVER BURN A CANDLE ON OR NEAR ANYTHING THAT CAN CATCH FIRE.
- KEEP BURNING CANDLES OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN OR PETS.
- Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
- Use candleholders that are sturdy, won't tip over easily, are made from a material that can't burn and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
- Place candleholders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface and do not use candles in places where they could be knocked over by children or pets.
- Don't place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can contact them.
- Keep candlewicks trimmed to one-quarter inch and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holder or decorative material.
- Candles should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.
- Avoid candles with combustible items embedded in them. Be wary of buying novelty candles. Avoid candles surrounded by flammable paint, paper, dried flowers, or breakable/meltable containers.
- Use extreme caution if you carry a lit candle, holding it well away from clothing and any combustibles that may be near the path along which you walk, and avoid loose, flowing clothing that is not flame-resistant.
- Place candles on stable surfaces in sturdy holders that grip the candle securely and won't tip over.
- Never move a candle container when the wax is liquid