Many people use candles throughout their homes to decorate and to project a relaxing atmosphere. The following is some information that was put out by The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
From 2006 to 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 11,640 home structure fires that were started by candles. These fires caused 126 deaths, 953 injuries and $438 million in direct property damage. Candles caused 3% of reported home fires, 5% of home fire deaths, 7% of home fire injuries, and 6% of the direct property damage from home fires in 2010.
Facts & Figures During the Five-Year Period of 2006 to 2010
- Roughly one-third (35%) of home candle fires started in bedrooms. These fires caused 42% of the associated deaths and 45% of the associated injuries.
- On average, 32 home candle fires were reported per day.
- Falling asleep was a factor in 11% percent of the home candle fires and 43% of the associated deaths.
- More than half (56%) of home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle.
- December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
Advice from the NFPA
The NFPA offers the following advice:
- Use candles only with constant adult supervision.
- Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep.
- Keep candles away from items that can catch fire, such as Christmas trees, clothing, paper or curtains.
- Place candles and candle holders on a secure piece of furniture. Make sure candle holders are non-combustible and large enough to collect dripping wax.
- Do not place lighted candles in windows, where blinds or curtains can close over them.
- Keep wicks trimmed to ¼ inch, and extinguish candles when they burn to within two inches of the holder.
- Do not use candles in places where they can be knocked over by children or pets.
During Power Outages
Do the following during power outages:
- Use flashlights or battery generated lights.
- Avoid carrying a lighted candle.
- Don’t use a candle when looking for items in a closet.
- Never use a candle for light near a kerosene heater or lantern.
Well hopefully this advice will help all of us use safety and common sense when it comes to burning candles. Remember although most people don’t think of it this way, a candle is an open flame. It can be just as dangerous or worse than a match or a lighter.