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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Avoid A Candle Fire in Your Home

8/5/2020 (Permalink)

photo of condo that is a total loss after candle fire. whole top of structure is gone Not practicing correct candle fire safety may pose a significant risk for fire damage to your Flemington area home.

Candles are often used decoratively, to enhance the ambiance of a room, or even as a light source when the power goes out. But, when candles are not used in line with proper safety guidelines, they can start a fire in your home. According to the NFPA, roughly 8,000 home candle fires are reported every year and cause $278 million in property damage.

Whether it is large or small, a fire can cause a huge amount of damage to your home. Even if a fire is put out within minutes, soot and smoke may cover your walls, furniture, and floors, creating a huge mess to clean up.

To prevent fire damage in your home and stay safe, it's best to practice these candle safety tips.

Tips to Prevent Candle Fires

  1. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from any flammable materials. 60 percent of candle fires start because the burning candle was too close to things that could burn, such as curtains, bedding, furniture, or decorations (NFPA).
  2. Avoid placing a lighted candle in an area it can easily be knocked over. Children and pets often run around homes, and if a table is bumped or a dog's tail knocks it over - it can easily start a fire. Don't place candles on coffee tables or within reach of children.
  3. Don't leave lit candles unattended. This may be the biggest tip for fire safety - Anything can happen if you leave a candle unattended. It's always possible for a candle to combust or "explode", get knocked over, or light a curtain blowing in the breeze on fire. Also, if a candle has been burning for a long time, it's possible for hot wax to splatter and cause a fire.
  4. Never fall asleep with a candle lit! Roughly one third of candle fires start in bedrooms - many due to homeowners falling asleep. This is also similar to leaving the candle unattended.
  5. If a candle fire starts - DO NOT try to put it out with water. Hot, melted wax may splatter and worsen the fire and burn you. Using water to put out a candle fire may also result in the glass candle holder exploding due to the rapid change in temperature. The best way to put out a candle fire is to snuff it out or smother it, similar to a grease fire.
  6. Place matches and lighters out of the reach of children. Children should not light candles or be around candles unattended. If they cannot light a candle, they cannot cause a fire.
  7. Throw away candles that have little to no wax back. When a candle burns this low, it heats up the container or holder that it is in much more than when it is a fresh, new candle. This puts it at risk to crack or explode, and light nearby combustible material on fire.
  8. Be mindful of the manufacturer's safety instructions on the candle. They may advise for how long the candle can be burned or if there are any other hazards associated with it.
  9. Be sure to place candles on heat or fire resistant surfaces. Some surfaces are more likely to get hot and indirectly start a fire, or are highly flammable if wax splatters.
  10. Be extra careful of candles around the holidays. December is the peak month for candle fires, and is correlated with holiday decorations. Almost three times as many fires that are started by candles on Christmas than the daily average for the rest of the year! (NFPA) With homes crowded with family, decorations, and lit candles, disaster can strike quickly if you are not vigilant and practicing the above tips.

If a candle fire starts in your home - keep your family safe and evacuate if you are not able to quickly put it out. Your belongings and home can be replaced - but lives cannot!

Damage From A Candle Fire? Call SERVPRO - 908-788-8770

SERVPRO of Greater Hunterdon County is a damage restoration company specializing in fire damage, water damage, and mold remediation. No matter the damages, we can make it "Like it never even happened."

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