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Causes and Circumstances of Home Candle Fires

  • On average, 42 home candle fires are reported every day.
  • More than half of all candle fires start when something that could burn (furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains, or decorations) is too close to the candle.
  • In one-fifth (20%) of candle fires, the candles are unattended or abandoned.
  • Over one-third (36%) of home candle fires begin in the bedroom.
  • Falling asleep is a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 36% of the associated deaths.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 13% of home candle fires begin with decorations, compared to 4% for the rest of the year.
  • One-half of home candle fire deaths occur between Midnight and 6 am.
  • Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires.
  • The risk of fatal candle fires appears higher when candles are used for light.

         Sources: NFIRS, NFPA

 

Candle Safety Tips

  • Consider using battery-operated or electric flameless candles and fragrance warmers, which can look, smell and feel like real candles – without the flame.
  • If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.
  • Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Extinguish candles after use and before going to bed.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Set a good example by using matches, lighters, and fire carefully.
  • Children should never be allowed to play with matches, lighters or candles.
  • Never use a candle where medical oxygen is being used. The two can combine to create a large, unexpected fire.
  • Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.
  • Never put candles on a Christmas tree.
  • When using in home worship, don't place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them, or pass handheld candles from one person to another.
  • To lower the risk of fire, candles should be used by only a few designated adults.
  • And NEVER leave burning candles unattended!

 

Candle fires ARE PREVENTABLE!

In the event of a fire, remember time is the biggest enemy and every second counts!
Escape first, and then call for help. Develop a home fire escape plan and practice it frequently with your family. Designate a meeting place outside. Make sure everyone in the family knows two ways to escape from every room.

 
Never stand up in a fire, always crawl low under the smoke, and try to keep your mouth covered. Never return to a burning building for any reason. It may cost you your life.
Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of survival.