These darker, cooler days also trigger our desire to dig into the mantel drawer and pull out a pair or two of those beautiful decorative candles bought at a recent crafts or school fair. We all love the fact that candles help to create a warm and homey glow to any gloomy day, but it’s also important to consider the dangers that candles pose.
FACT: Roughly one-third of home candle fires start in the bedroom.*
FACT: More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.*
So, while the idea of being surrounded by candlelight as you do your homework or entertain guests sounds romantic, we should always remember that a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.
If you do burn candles, make sure that you:
* Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
* Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
* Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily, and put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
What else can you do? As an alternative to real candles, consider using flameless candles in your dorm room or at home. They look and smell like the real deal. (And if you don’t believe me, the next time you’re in a restaurant, check out the candle at your table … chances are, it’s flameless!)
You can also check out NFPA’s candle safety tips sheets. There’s great advice to help keep you safe if there is a candle in the room, and additional safety information for candle use during religious ceremonies. Read NFPA's candle safety fact sheet and watch a video for an "at a glance" look at home fire safety and candle use.
We all know that candles are really pretty, but they are also a major cause of home fires and home fire deaths. So play it safe, everyone, and thank you!
*Source: NFPA's "Home Candle Fires" report by Marty Ahrens, December 2012.