Candles are very popular and they are a growing concern with the Fire Service and Safety organizations. When asked recently what he saw as the greatest cause of accidental home fires today, an expert in the field of fire investigation quickly replied, "candles".
(A child playing with a candle was the cause of this fire)
This isn't to say that all candles are dangerous or that using them is discouraged. If used properly they can be a beneficial source of enjoyment for many people, however, when used improperly, candles have caused significant loss of life, injury and loss of property. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the soaring popularity of candles has led to an increase in reported candle fires. The USFA currently estimates that candles are responsible for approximately 10,000
residential fires each year, along with 1,000 civilian injuries, 85 fatalities and $120 million in property loss.
A Message from Deputy Chief Michael Moyer regarding candle usage
Trim the Wick
Trimming the wick to about 1/4 inch prior to each use will help the flame burn better and produce less smoke.
Put them on a heat resistant surface
Be especially careful with night lights and tea lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic. TVs are not fire-resistant objects.
Put them in a proper holder
Candles need to be held firmly upright by the holder so they won't fall over. The holder needs to be stable too, so it won't fall over either.
Position them away from flammable objects
Don't put candles near curtains or other fabrics - or furniture. And keep them out of drafts.
Check what is above
It's easy to forget that there is a lot of heat above a burning candle. If you put it under a shelf or other surface then it can burn the surface. Make sure there's at least three feet between a candle and any surface above it.
Keep clothes and hair away
If there's any chance you could lean across a candle and forget it's there, put it somewhere else. You don't want to set fire to your clothes or your hair
Keep children and pets away
Candles should be out of reach of children and pets.
Keep candles apart
Leave at least four inches between two burning candles.
Take care with votive or scented candles
These kinds of candles turn to liquid to release their fragrance, so put them in a glass or metal holder.
Don't move them when they're burning
Extinguish candles before moving them. Also, don't let anything fall into the hot wax like match sticks.
Don't leave them burning
Extinguish candles before you leave a room. Never go to sleep with a candle still burning. And never leave a burning candle in a child's bedroom.
Discontinue use of a candle
Candles in containers should not be used if less than 1/2 inch of wax is remaining. Stick candles should not be used is less than 2 inches of wax remains.
Use a snuffer or a spoon to put them out
It's safer than blowing them, which can send sparks and hot wax flying.
Double-check they're out
Candles that have been put out can go on smoldering and start a fire. Make sure they're completely out.
Do not burn Decorated Candles.
Candles that have been decorated are not meant to be burned. Decorations and the glue to adhere them to the candle can catch fire and burn apart from the wax.