As the holidays draw near, you’re gearing up for another festive season with family and friends. If your holiday traditions include burning candles, take care not to put your home or family in danger.
Each year, fire fighters respond to more than 10,600 house fires caused by candles. That’s an average of 29 per day. Candles are responsible for about 4% of all reported home fires, and December is the peak time of year for this emergency to strike, when 11% of reported home fires are caused by candles.
You’d be amazed how quickly a flickering candle can transition into a flaming fire. It only takes seconds. Don’t let your holiday festivities become a disaster! Follow important candle safety tips this year and teach all family members to do the same.
Candle Safety Tips
While you may only think of candles as beautiful decorations that add a pleasant scent to the air, candles have open flames. Whether you’re burning candles for fun or as part of an important religious ceremony, follow these tips:
- Set lit candles in a sturdy holder that won’t tip over easily.
- Set candle holders on a sturdy, heat-resistant, uncluttered surface.
- Run a hot match under running water before tossing it in the trash.
- Don’t let candles burn all the way down. Blow them out before they get too close to the holder or bottom of the candle jar. Once the wick reaches less than one-quarter-inch, it’s time to throw the candle out.
- Never leave a lit candle unattended. If you exit the room or go to sleep, blow out the candle first.
- Avoid burning candles near the bed where pillows and sheets could get too close to the flame. Also avoid placing lit candles on a windowsill where the blinds or curtains could catch fire.
- Keep all combustible items – drapes, lampshades, Christmas trees, beddings, stuffed animals, clothing and hair – at least 12 inches away from lit candles at all times. Keep all nonflammable items at least 4 inches away.
- Keep candles out of reach of curious children and pets. If you have cats, place the candle on a surface they can’t jump onto.
- Don’t light candles if anyone in your home is on oxygen.
- Avoid burning candles if the windows are open. A sudden breeze could make the flame dance and increase the fire hazard.
- Use flashlights and battery-powered lanterns during power outages, not candles.
Alternatives to Flame Candles
If you’re going for the appearance of a lit candle or a nice scent, consider a few safer alternatives to flame candles:
- Flameless candles: Inexpensive versions are made of plastic and are meant to simply mimic the flickering light of a candle. More expensive flameless candles are made of scented wax to more closely resemble the real thing.
- Scented oils: Going more for the refreshing scent than the flicking flame? Try oil diffusers or plug-in air fresheners instead of candles.
- Candle warmer: If you already have a ton of candles, or your favorite scent can’t be found anywhere else, enjoy your candles without lighting them by using a candle warmer. This uses electric heat to warm the wax instead of a flame so you can freshen your home without creating a fire hazard.
We hope you find these candle safety tips useful this holiday season. If your home has already been ravaged by a fire, contact Rainbow International® to begin the remediation process. We’re here to help get your life back to normal after a disaster.