Fire Safety & Candles

National Candle Association

There's a special beauty and tranquility to candles, but a lighted candle is also an open flame, and a potential fire hazard if not carefully monitored. In fact, accidental candle fires account for approximately four percent of all U.S. residential fires.


A study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that 85 percent of candle fires could be avoided if consumers followed three basic safety rules:


Never leave a burning candle unattended.
Never burn a candle on or near anything that might catch fire.
Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.


The National Candle Association urges consumers to always follow the basic rules of fire safety when burning candles.


How to Burn a Candle Safely Before lighting

Trim the wick to ΒΌ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.


Always use a candleholder specifically designed for candle use. It should be heat resistant, sturdy, and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.


Burn candles in a well-ventilated room.


Place the candleholder on a stable, heat-resistant surface.


Keep the wax pool clear of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.


Avoid drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, sooting, and excessive dripping.


Follow the manufacturer's recommendations on burn time and proper use


While burning

Never touch or move a burning candle. Never move a votive or container candle when the wax is liquefied.


Don't burn a candle all the way down. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains (1/2 inch if in a container).


Extinguish a candle if the flame becomes too high or flickers repeatedly. Let the candle cool, trim the wick, and check for unwanted drafts before re-lighting.


Always keep the candle within your sight. If you are going to leave the room, be sure to first blow out all candles.


When extinguishing

Use a candle snuffer to extinguish a candle. It's the safest way to prevent hot wax from splattering.


Never use water to extinguish a candle. Water can cause the hot wax to splatter and might break a glass container.


Make sure the candle is completely out and the wick ember is no longer glowing before leaving the room.


Don't touch or move the candle until it has completely cooled.


Candle Fire Statistics

More than 15,000 residential fires are caused each year by the careless or inappropriate use of candles.


The National Candle Association urges consumers to always keep a burning candle within sight, and to extinguish candles when leaving a room.

Where Candle Fires Start *

Bedroom 38%
Living/Family Room/Den 15%
Bathroom 14%
Kitchen 8%

Items First Ignited *

Mattresses or Bedding 11%
Curtains/Blinds/Draperies 10%
Cabinetry 9%

*Source: Home Candle Fires , Fire Analysis and Research Division, National Fire Protection Association, September 2007. Based on 2002-2005 annual averages


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