Are you planning to light some Christmas candles to help celebrate the holidays? You certainly won’t be alone. Using candles to add a warm and cheery celebratory glow to the holiday is a common practice in millions of households.
But it’s a practice that can be deadly dangerous.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), fire departments throughout America are called to respond to hundreds of holiday related fires each season.
And many of those fires are caused by candles. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that the number of home fires caused by candles jumps by 50% in December in comparison to other months.
These Are Often Deadly Fires…
In a recent 4-year stretch, the NFPA notes that candles started an average of 10,630 home fires every year. And while these fires resulted in nearly half a billion dollars in property damage, that’s far from the worst of it.
Because tragically, home fires started from candles frequently result in the deaths of family members. Dozens of people die every year as a result of injuries occurred in candle-related fires. Hundreds of people are injured each year as a result of these fires.
And the three days during which the most candle-related fires occur? Christmas, New Year’s and Christmas Eve.
Candle Safety Tips
Don’t let the scary stats frighten you out of enjoying your Christmas candles. Do let them frighten you into using candles safely by following these tips recommended by the NFPA:
- Keep Away From Flammable Objects: A candle, of course, is an open flame. And an open flame is always looking for an opportunity to spread. That’s why you should always keep candles at least 12 inches from any flammable material.
- Never Leave Unattended: Don’t leave a candle burning unattended – EVER! If you’re leaving a room – even if only for a few minutes – extinguish candles first.
- Keep Away From Children: Children and matches don’t go together, and neither do children and candles. Make certain that candles are kept out of the reach of children.
- Keep Upright: Don’t place candles on unstable surfaces. Do use candleholders that are inflammable, and that securely hold the candle in place.
- Don’t Use As Nightlights: More than a third of all candle-related deaths resulted from fires that occurred while home occupants were sleeping. So make it an ironclad rule that all household candles must be extinguished before retiring for the night – no exceptions.
A Candle Can Be Delightful or Deadly…
Though they have the potential to be deadly, candles can add an unmatchable touch of warmth to a holiday celebration. Like so many things, it’s not the item itself that is dangerous; it’s how the item is used.
That puts the responsibility for candle safety squarely in your hands. Follow the tips above, and you’ll be able to enjoy the delightful pleasures of candles while avoiding the deadly dangers.