Fire Safety Awareness

Candle Fire Statistics and Safety Tips

Scented candles are welcome additions to home décor that add charming ambiance and pleasing fragrance to any room.  They make lovely gifts for many special occasions and dominate the retail market during the holidays. It is easy to see why scented candles are so popular, but many people who use them on a day to day basis don’t think about the potential danger that candles pose to their homes and property.

In the United States, there are approximately 15,260 home fires caused by candles each year, and those fires result in roughly 1,289 injuries. The majority of these incidents occur around the holidays when candle usage is at its peak. Although improper use of candles can be extremely dangerous, the risk of injury or property damage can be greatly reduced simply by taking the proper precautionary measures.

Here are some helpful facts and tips to consider whenever candles are being used in the home.

  • Keep lit candles far away from any nearby objects that could catch fire. 55% of home candle fires start because a candle is too close to flammable materials. These materials could include furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains, or home and holiday decorations. Even just the heat from a candle can cause some items to catch fire, so a safe distance of 12 inches around a burning candle is recommended.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. 20% of candle fires begin when candles are unattended or abandoned. If you have to leave the room, even for a few short minutes, it is best to blow or snuff out any lit candles first. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Never go to sleep next to a burning candle.  36% of home candle fires begin in the bedroom and more than half of candle fire related deaths occur between the hours of midnight and 6 AM. Consider battery operated candles and plug-in air fresheners for the bedroom since it is so easy to fall asleep before remembering to extinguish candle flames.
  • Use proper candle burning equipment responsibly. Always burn candles on a sturdy metal, glass, or ceramic holder that can catch and contain hot wax or burning embers.  Lighters and matches used for lighting candles should be kept in a secure place away from the reach of children. Young children and older adults have a much higher risk of candle fire related injury.
  • Remember to practice safe candle usage during the holidays. The holidays can be extremely busy and hectic, which makes it easy to overlook simple safety measures. Remember that most home fires from improper candle usage happen during the holiday season, so be sure to make candle safety a top priority.

Using candles in the home does not have to be dangerous. Just take a moment to consider these important safety tips the next time you use candles. Doing so will help make these frightening candle fire statistics a thing of the past.

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