Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a growing cause of home fires-and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, meaning that it can easily ignite any combustible material nearby. And because candle fires spread so quickly, it's essential that you have working smoke alarms in your residence and a home fire escape plan ready to go. Follow these tips to help you use candles safely.
Reducing the risk
- Never leave a burning candle unattended. Extinguish all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Almost half of all home fires started by candles begin in the bedroom. The National Fire Prevention Association discourages the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
- Keep candles at least one foot away from anything that can burn, including curtains, blinds, wallpaper, clothing or any other material that can catch fire.
- Don't place lit candles in windows or near doorways where drafts could bring combustibles in contact with the flame.
- Keep candles away from flammable liquids.
"Candle with Care"
- Use candle holders that are sturdy, won't tip over easily, are made from a material that can't burn, and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
- Place candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface-away from edges and any place where they could be knocked over by kids or pets.
- Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
- Keep candle wicks trimmed to one-quarter inch.
- Extinguish candles when they burn down to within two inches of their holder or any decorative material.
- Extinguish candles carefully, using a long-handled candle snuffer or a soft, directed breath. Be careful not to splatter wax when extinguishing. Do not leave the room until wicks have stopped glowing.
- Avoid using candles during a power outage. Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting on hand for emergency lighting. - link to national fuel fund info.
Candles and kids
- Never leave a child unattended in a room with a burning candle.
- Don't allow kids or teens to burn candles in their bedrooms.
- Don't let kids play with candles or dripping wax - or with materials that could catch fire near candles.
- Store matches and lighters up high and out of children's sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.
For information about Fire Department education programs, please see Safety Education
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City of Huntington Beach
2000 Main Street
Huntington Beach, CA
Phone: (714) 536-5411
Fax: (714) 374-1551