Many people enjoy burning candles in their homes. In fact, the National Candle Association indicates that 7 out of 10 homes in the U.S. have candles. People have safely enjoyed using candles for centuries. However, if certain precautions are not taken by the consumer, candles can also become a factor in a chain of events that can result in unnecessary injury and even death.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), candle fires account for 2.4% of all fires and result in 6% of total injuries from fires and 3% of fatalities from fires. Due to the significantly increased usage of candles, these figures have been increasing. NFPA estimates that the number of house fires caused by candle use has increased 15% over the last three years, and 300% since 1990.
The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) reports candle fire incidents occur most often in the bedroom (45.2%), the family room (17.5%), and the bathroom (11.2%). The kitchen accounts for 6.3% of candle fire incidents. NFIRS also reports that the materials most often ignited by candles are cabinetry (9.4%), bedding - blankets, sheets, comforters, etc. (7.7%), curtains and drapery (7.2%), mattresses and pillows (5.5%).
The most startling statistic from NFIRS is the fact that nearly 85% of the candle fire incidents were started because of consumer misuse of the product.
The following simple candle safety tips are important when using candles:
- Never leave a burning candle unattended
- Never place a burning candle near something that can catch fire
- Keep burning candles out of the reach of children or pets
Some additional tips that will help you use and enjoy candles safely are:
- Keep candles away from drafts and vents
- Trim wicks to 1/4-inch prior to each use
- Normally don't burn candles for more than four hours at a time
- Extinguish taper or pillar candles when they get within 2 inch of their holders
- Always use containers that have been made for candle usage
- Discontinue the use of a container candle when 1/2-inch of wax remains
- Keep matches, wick trimmings, and foreign objects out of the candle wax