Candle Safety for the HolidaysBy Home Security Source 12/8/2009 | 10:06:04 amPosted in: DIY Safety, Fire Prevention, Home
Candles are festive, fun and romantic, making them a great choice for holiday celebrations and decorating. But they can also be dangerous. According to the National Candle Association, more than 15,000 candle fires are reported a year and candle fires have more than doubled since the 1990’s. Incidents of candle fires peak in December with the top five days for candle-related fires being Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day , New Year’s Eve and Halloween. So, whether you are using candles to decorate for Christmas, light a menorah for Hanukkah or set a romantic mood for New Year’s Eve it is important to follow some common sense fire prevention measures.
A study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) showed the major cause of candle fires is placing candles too close to combustibles. Candles should never be placed next to flammable items such as draperies, furniture, paper or decorations. In fact, many experts say candles should be placed a minimum of one to three feet in each direction away from any flammable material.
The second biggest cause of candle fires is a candle falling or being knocked over, so lighted candles should never be left unattended and should be kept out of the reach of children and pets. Burning candles require constant monitoring by adults and candles should always be placed on a stable surface away from open windows, ceiling fans, vents and drafts.
Read the manufacturer’s directions on candles you purchase and be particularly careful when buying candles that have flammable materials such as wood and paper embedded in them. Never let a candle burn all the way down. Leave at least two inches or a half an inch if the candle is in a container. And also use a candleholder that is specifically made for holding lighted candles – one that is sturdy and heat resistant.
During power outages it might be tempting to light candles, but flashlights and other battery operated lighting are a much safer bet. Also candles should never be used as nightlights.
Today, there are many battery-powered candles available in stores and online. These are a great alternative to regular candles and should be used when combining candles with greenery and other decorative items. Flameless candles can provide a festive holiday atmosphere without the potential danger. Having a fire alarm can also help when an unfortunate event takes place.
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