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. Candles cause an estimated 15,600 house fires, 150 deaths, and 1,270 injuries each year and 85 percent of candle fires could be avoided. Here are a few tips:
- Always keep a burning candle within sight. Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep. Be sure the wick ember is no longer glowing.
- Keep candles away from anything that could catch fire. Keep burning candles away from 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. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning and dripping.
- Always use a candle-holder specifically designed for candle use. The holder should be heat resistant, sturdy, and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.
- Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents, ceiling fans and air currents. This will help prevent rapid, uneven burning, and avoid flame flare-ups and sooting. Drafts can also blow nearby lightweight items into the flame where they could catch fire.
- Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room. Don’t burn too many candles in a small room or in a “tight” home where air exchange is limited.
- Don’t burn a candle all the way down. Extinguish the flame if it comes too close to the holder or container. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains or ½ inch if in a container.
- Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another. This helps ensure they don’t melt one another, or create their own drafts to cause improper burning.
- Never extinguish candles with water. The water can cause the hot wax to splatter and might cause a glass container to break.
- Be very careful if using candles during a power outage. Flashlights and other battery-powered lights are safer sources of light during a power failure.
- Extinguish a candle if it repeatedly smokes, flickers, or the flame becomes too high. The candle isn’t burning properly. Cool, trim the wick, then check for drafts before relighting.
- Never use a candle as a night light.