There are few things as tranquil, and beautiful as a candle burning inside as snow falls outside. But a candle is an open flame and should be treated as such.
Fire departments across the country responded to an estimated 7,400 home fires started by candles between 2015 and 2019, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Those fires caused an annual average of 90 deaths, 670 injuries, and $291 million in property damage, the agency reported.
To avoid the risk of things catching fire inside your home, follow these tips by the NFPA when using candles:
- Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed, making sure the wick ember is no longer glowing
- Avoid using candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep
- Keep candles at least one foot away from anything that can burn
- Keep candles away from anything that could catch fire like furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc. Make sure all candles are out of reach of children and pets
- Trim candlewicks to ¼ inch each time before burning as long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning and dripping
- Use a candle-holder that is sturdy and specifically designed for candle use
- Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents, ceiling fans and air currents to help prevent rapid, uneven burning, and avoid flame flare-ups and soot buildup.
- Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room
- Don’t burn a candle all the way down; extinguish the flame if it comes too close to the holder or container
- Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another to help ensure they don’t melt one another, or create their own drafts to cause improper burning
- Never extinguish candles with water as this can cause the hot wax to splatter and might cause a glass container to break
If you are dealing with a power outage, fire officials recommend using flashlights and other battery-powered lights as they are safer sources of light.