Candle Safety

By: Shannon Hermanski
By: Shannon Hermanski

Centuries ago candles were used as a source of light. Today, candles symbolize celebration, mark romance and define ceremony. That’s why using candles with caution is important.

An estimated two-thirds of American households will use candles this holiday season.

But, government studies show that many consumers are dangerously unaware of basic candle safety rules.

Candles and celebrations have gone together for centuries bringing families together at the holidays.

"Candles are more popular than ever. People use them to decorate their homes--set a mood. But, people have to remember candle safety,” says Valerie Cooper, Exec. Director of the National Candle Association.

But, the latest government research shows consumers aren't following proper safety precautions. Industry officials believe 85-percent of candle related fires could be prevented by following a few simple steps.

"The most important thing to remember is to always keep a burning candle within sight. You should be able to see your candle from any place you might be in your home.” Says Marianne McDermott, VP of the National Candle Association.

Leaving a lit candle unattended is the number one cause of candle related fires. But, it's also important to keep the candle away from anything flammable and to keep it out of the reach of children and pets. Also make sure the candle has a quiet steady flame.

"If you see that your candle flame is flickering you'll know that it's not burning properly and you should put it out,” McDermott adds.

In addition, the national candle association says consumers should put the candle on a proper holder on a heat resistant surface.

Trim the wick to a quarter of an inch before burning. And finally never allow the flame to burn all the way down or come too close to the holder or container. More than a third of candles are purchased during the holiday season.

That's why, it's important to follow these tips to make your celebration safe this holiday season.

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The NFPA offers the following tips for safe use of candles:

  • Use candles only with constant supervision.

  • Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep.

  • Keep candles well away from items that can catch fire, such as Christmas trees, flammable decorations, clothing, books, paper, curtains, etc.

  • Make sure candles are placed on a secure piece of furniture, in sturdy holders that will not tip over.

  • Make sure candle holders are non-combustible and big enough to collect dripping wax.

  • Do not place lit candles in windows, where blinds or curtains can close over them.

  • Keep wicks trimmed to ¼ inch, and extinguish candles when they burn down to within two inches of the holder.

  • Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.

  • Do not use candles in places where they can be knocked over by children or pets.

Source: National Fire Protection Association [www.nfpa.org]


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