Valentines Day means romance and nothing creates an air of romance more than candles. Although candles are great for creating warmth and romance, accidental ignition can lead to property damage, injury, or even death without proper adherence to fire safety. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), thousands of home fires due to candle-burning accidents are reported each year and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that most of candle fires can be avoided by following basic safety rules. Keep your home safe by practicing these simple candle safety tips.
Never leave burning candles unattended—Avoid use in the bedroom where people may fall asleep or areas with much distraction or lack of supervision.
Consider the location—Never burn candles near flammable items such as paper, combustible liquids, oxygen tanks, curtains, and sheets. Keep them at least one foot away from hazardous materials and place multiply lit candles at least 3 inches apart. Place your candles on a steady and uncluttered surface, so you don’t risk the chance of them toppling over. Burn them in a well-ventilated room without drafts or air currents. Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
Clean your candles before use—Whether using them for the first time or relighting, discard candle debris such as wax remnants, broken wicks, and matches that can be flammable. Trim candle wicks to a quarter of an inch with clippers or scissors. Trimming helps prevent uneven burning and dripping.
Use sturdy candle holders—They should be heat-resistant and safely catch melted wax.
Tools for safe lighting and extinguishing—Use long matches or a lighter to avoid burns. Keep loose clothing and hair away from the flame. Never use water to put out a candle. Instead, use a candle snuffer to prevent hot wax from splattering and causing a fire. Check that the wick is no longer glowing and that the wax has cooled before you move or leave it.
Don’t burn candles too low or too long—Carefully supervise the progression of the burning. Don’t let the flame burn beyond half an inch of wax left, and no less than 2 inches for thick, stand-alone candles. Candle burning duration should be no longer than 4 hours. If in doubt, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for proper use.
Consider alternatives to candles—If candle burning is unsafe in your home, use flashlights or flameless candles. These other lighting choices can be especially convenient during lengthy power outages and safer to use around children, pets, and the elderly.
Adopt a safety regiment—Regularly inspect smoke alarms for proper functioning and have an emergency exit plan in case of fire. Keep emergency numbers handy.
Candles can invite a feeling of celebration and calm but require us to be attentive to fire safety. Practicing these precautions can keep your home safe from candle fires so you can enjoy your favorite scented candle without worry.