Because of their growing popularity in home decor, candles have been causing an increasing number of home fires, especially during the holidays. Here are facts from the National Fire Protection Association and tips for preventing candle fires:
- Between 2009 and 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to at least 9,300 home fires started by candles; these fires killed 86 people.
- About 3 percent of all house fires are started by candles.
- More than one-third of candle fires in homes start in bedrooms.
- Candle fires occur most frequently in December, when 11 percent of fires involve holiday decorations. The top three days for candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
- Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches from curtains, dried-out Christmas trees, decorations, papers, and other inflammables.
- Place candles on stable furniture in sturdy holders.
- Place candles where they won’t be knocked over by children or pets.
- Don’t let children have candles in their bedrooms.
- Use battery-operated flameless candles for decorating.
- Use flashlights, not candles, if there’s a power outage.
For more advice on how to use candles safely, consult the National Candle Association’s fact sheet.
Also see Carbon Monoxide: An Invisible Threat.