Candle Safety

Candle fires are most common during holidays and special occasions, and can be a serious fire hazard if not used properly.  There are a number of things you can do to reduce health and safety risks when you burn candles.

Human error is responsible for starting a number of candle fires.  Some of the common mistakes people make include:
• leaving candles burning with no one in the room, or falling asleep or leaving the house with candles burning.
• burning candles close to things that can catch fire (like mattresses, bedding, curtains, cabinetry, upholstered furniture, decorations and clothing).
• leaving burning candles within reach of children or pets.

It is estimated that candles were responsible for an average of nearly 800 candle fires with a yearly average of 8 fire deaths, 115 fire injuries and $26.2 million in property damage.

The design of candles can also increase the risk of fire and fire-related injuries.  An example, is a candle with multiple wicks.  Testing on this type of candle has found that with certain brands, lighting all of the wicks at once can produce a single high flame, or a number of large flames close together.  The result is very intense heat that can ignite nearby materials, like curtains or clothing.  These candles can also melt rapidly, leaving a large pool of hot wax that can cause burns.

The materials used in and on the candles, can also present fire hazards.  For example, some candles have decorations made of paper and ribbons, and some have outer layers made of tree bark, paper or other non-wax coating.  These materials are very flammable and may increase the risk of fires and burns.  In some cases, fires are started because the candle wax gets so hot it catches fire itself.

Minimizing Your Risk

The following steps will help minimize your risk when you burn candles in your home.
• Follow the instructions printed on the label.
• Trim candle wicks to a height of 5-7 mm (1/4 inch) before lighting the candle. Trim them again every 2-3 hours to prevent high flames.
• Take extra care if you are burning candles with more than one wick.  Avoid buying candles with multiple wicks that are close together.
• Use well ventilated candle holders that are sturdy and will not tip over.  Avoid wooden or plastic holders, as these can catch fire.  Use caution with glass candle holders, which can break when they get too hot.
• Never drop objects, like matches, into candles.
• Keep burning candles away from materials that can catch fire (like curtains, decorations and clothing).  If your clothes catch fire, “Stop, Drop and Roll.”
• Keep burning candles out of reach of children and pets.
• Do not leave candles burning with no one in the room.
• Extinguish all candles before you go to sleep.
• Teach your children to be careful around open flames.  Make sure they understand that candles are not toys, or something they can eat or drink.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to better serve you.  Call Toll Free 1-877-763-1540.

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