12 Days of Holiday Safety: Day 6 = Candle With Care

December 18, 2013

When the holiday decorations go up, the potential for fires in the home goes up too. Twelve percent of home candle fires occur in December – one-and-a-half times the monthly average. December candle fires often involve combustible seasonal decorations that would not have been present at other times of the year. The top three days for home candle fires were Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.
Home candle fires climbed through the 1990s but have fallen since the 2001 peak. The decline coincides with the increased popularity of battery-operated LED "flameless" candles.
If you do burn candles, make sure you…

  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep; that’s where most candle fires occur.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
  • Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame. 
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.

When candles are used in religious ceremonies, mishaps can be avoided by following these additional tips:

  • Candles should be placed in a sturdy candle holder.
  • Handheld candles should not be passed from one person to another at any time.
  • When lighting candles at a candle lighting service, have the person with the unlit candle dip their candle into the flame of the lit candle.
  • Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire.
  • Candles placed on, or near tables, altars, or shrines, must be watched by an adult.
  • If a candle must burn continuously, be sure it is enclosed in a glass container and placed in a sink, on a metal tray, or in a deep basin filled with water.
Contact: