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10 tips to help prevent candle fires in your home

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Oct 23, 2012 8:26:00 AM

describe the imageDid you know that October is Fire Prevention Month? From 2014-2018 an average of 353,100 home fires were reported.  This resulted in $7.2 billion in property damage.

At this time of year, my wife burns more candles. There’s nothing like walking into my home and smelling pumpkin spice, evergreen, or baked sugar cookies. I’m a notorious sweet tooth, so candle scents that smell like fresh-baked anything can make my mouth water!

However, as good as they smell, candles can be dangerous, especially if you’re not careful. If you like to burn candles during these colder months and holidays, please remember these important safety tips.

Candle Safety Tips

1. Keep candles away from children and pets. 

While candles look nice on the coffee table and add ambiance to your living room, a passing child or wagging tail can easily tip them over.

2. Keep matches and lighters in a safe place. 

Lighting materials should be stored up high and out of sight in a kitchen cupboard, pantry, or even a closet. When I was younger, my neighborhood friends and I were fascinated with fire. Fortunately, we never caused any significant fire damage to our homes... but we did come close.

3. Avoid using candles in the bedroom.

Approximately one-third of candle fires start in a bedroom and one-half of fire deaths happen between midnight and 6:00 am.

4. Have several candle holders on hand. 

Candles come in many shapes and sizes, so you should have the right size holder for the candles you like to burn. And it’s essential to ensure candle holders are placed on durable heat-resistant surfaces.

5. Toss the candle if it’s two inches or less. 

Replacing a candle more frequently costs far less than replacing your home. Don’t let a candle burn too close to the holder.

6. Avoid using water to extinguish the candle. 

Hot wax can splatter in all directions if doused with water. And the temperature change could cause a glass container to crack or break. Consider using a snuffer to extinguish the candle.

7. Never use candles during a power outage or as a night light. 

Flashlights, or other battery powered lights, are much safer than candles. Night lights are also much safer and relatively inexpensive.

8. Always keep an eye on the candle. 

Don’t leave a candle in an unattended room for a significant time. A few years ago, an entire apartment complex was destroyed in West Bend when a candle was left unattended.

9. Always follow the manufacturer’s safety recommendations. 

Manufacturers want you to enjoy their candles, so follow their recommendations.

10. Use common sense. 

Make sure the area around your candle is clutter-free. Also, watch for sporadic airflow around the candle which can cause the flame to shift direction. And always make sure the candle is at least 12 inches away from other household items that can burn.

If there is a fire at your home, make sure you and your family leave immediately! When everyone is safe, call for help. Never return to a burning home for any reason. To learn more about escape planning, click here.

If you would like to find your favorite candle scents, you can visit the links below.

Yankee Candle Company

Bath & Body Works

Do you have any suggestions or information you'd like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.



Topics: Home Safety, Fire Safety

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