A candle is an open flame and can easily ignite any nearby combustible!
Facts and figures
To give an example of the dangers associated with candles, consider this: during 2002, an estimated 18,000 residential fires were started by candles. This resulted in approximately 130 civilian deaths, 1,350 civilian injuries and $333 million in property loss. During 2001 amd 2002 these statistics were relatively stable - that was the first time since 1991 they have not been increasing. Candles accounted for about 5% of all reported residential fires, and 40% started in bedrooms resulting in 30% of the deaths reported.
Reported home candle fires have more than tripled since the low of 5,500 in 1990. December has almost twice the number of home candle fires of an average month. 50% of home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle, 18% occurred when candles were left unattended, abandoned or inadequately controlled. 5% were started by people (usually children) playing with the candle. Falling asleep was a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 25% of the home candle fire deaths. Christmas Day was the peak day of the year for home candle fires in 1999-2002. New Year's Day and Christmas Eve tied for second.
- Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
- Keep candles away from items that can catch fire, like clothing, books and curtains.
- Use candle holders that are study, won't tip over easily, are made from a material that cannot burn, and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
- Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.
- Keep candle wicks trimmed to one-quarter inch and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holder. Votives and containers should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.
- During power outages, avoid carrying a lit candle. Use flashlights.
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