Be Careful When Burning Candles

Candles, when properly used, can provide ambiance and add warmth and coziness to a home. They are also often used when severe weather causes a power outage, leaving homeowners in the dark.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 23,600 candle-related fires occurred in homes annually. Roughly 165 deaths and 1,525 injuries are attributed to candle-related fires and about $390 million in direct property loss is reported every year.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department recommends the use of  products such as battery-operated or electric candles and flashlights. But, if you chose use open-flame candles, these precautions are recommended:

  • Do not place candles near combustible materials such as upholstered furniture, newspapers, and magazines. (Fifty-five percent of candle fires start because the candle is too close to combustibles.)
  • Never leave children unattended in a room with an open flame candle.
  • Do not place candles on window ledges or near entryways. The potential air draft can “fan” the flame, catching curtains or other materials on fire.
  • Do keep burning candles within sight at all times. Candles can present a fire hazard outdoors on decks and patios as well as inside your home.
  • Always extinguish candles before leaving the home.
  • Remove all packaging before lighting.
  • Do use holders designed for the particular candle style.
  • Place all candles on a protected, heat resistant, dry surface away from anything that can catch fire and out of the reach of children and pets.

Remember — candle fires are preventable!