(No, these are not marshmallows)
As a public-education specialist, I am confronted daily with home fires. My passion for public education is driven by the knowledge that information and education can dramatically impact whether people make safe choices. One fire in 2015 stands out in my mind; the headline read “Toddler Rescued by Dad in House Fire Dies After Following Him Back Inside”. Two reasons: my younger son was the same age at the time; and the cause of the fire was an unattended candle used during a power outage caused by a storm.
NFPA has urged people for a VERY long time to practice safe candle use, and to consider battery-powered options in lieu of open-flame candles. And for good reason! On average, 22 home candle fires are reported each day, and three of every five (60 percent) home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle.
So, if you do burn candles, make sure that you . . .
- blow out all candles when you leave the room (and that means the house too) or go to bed
- avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep
- keep candles at least 1 foot (30 centimetres) away from anything that can burn
- use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily
- put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface
- light candles carefully – keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame
- put out the candle before it burns all the way down – before it gets too close to the holder or container
- do not use candles if oxygen is used in the home
- please . . . have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage; never use candles.