The National Fire Protection Association reports that, while deaths from residential fires have decreased in the last several years, those caused by candles have increased dramatically. Candle deaths increased 650 percent from 1980 (20 deaths) to 2005 (150 deaths). Candles cause an estimated 16,000 home fires each year. In most cases, candles triggered house fires when they were left unattended, were tipped over, and ignited nearby combustibles. Almost half of home candle fires start in the bedroom; mattresses and bedding are the most common items to ignite. A child playing with or near the candle is one of the biggest contributors to candle fires; drinking excessively and falling asleep leaving the candle is burning is another.
Consider the following safety tips concerning candles and share with your family:
- Always keep matches, lighters, and candles away from children.
- Never leave burning candles unattended.
- Keep combustible materials far away from candles.
- Do not put candles in a location where children or pets could knock them over. Be aware that candles and rambunctious puppies don’t mix.
- Use only nonflammable candleholders that are sturdy and hard to tip over.
- Always trim the wicks before lighting.
- Do not burn a candle all the way down to where it is too close to the holder or container.
- Use flashlights rather than candles when you have a power outage.
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.