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Candle Fire Safety

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Candle Safety

Use Candles with Care

Candle Statistics:

Candles cause an estimated 15,600 fires in residential structures, 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries, and $539 million in estimated direct property damage each year.
  • Over half (55%) of home candle fires start because the candle is too close to some combustible material.
  • More candle fires (38%) begin in the bedroom than in any other room.
  • Falling asleep is a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 26% of the associated deaths.
  • Half of all civilian candle fire deaths occur between Midnight and 6am.
  • December is the peak month for candle fires; Christmas is the peak day.
  • Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires.
  • The risk of a fatal candle fire appears higher when candles are used for light.

    Source: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) - Candle Fires, September 2007.

Tragic and Preventable Candle Fires

  • Three sleeping boys died when a candle left burning in the living room ignited nearby combustibles.
  • A man and his three children died in a fire when hot wax from an unattended candle dripped on curtains, igniting them.
  • Eleven members of a family died in a fire when a lighted candle ignited a mattress.
  • Two children died in a fire when a lighted candle rolled under the Christmas tree.
  • A mother and young baby died when a burning candle used for religious observances ignited cabinetry.

Fact: The majority of candle fires result from human error and negligence.

Candle Fire Safety TipCandles

  • Avoid using lighted candles.
  • If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass, or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.
  • 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 put candles on a Christmas tree.
  • Never leave the house with candles burning.
  • Extinguish candles after use.
  • Establish a fire-safe home, especially a safe sleeping environment.
  • And NEVER leave burning candles unattended!

Remember!  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 surviving a fire.

Material provided by the US Fire Administration