Candle fires account for 2.4% of all fires and result in 6% of total injuries from fires and 3% of all fatalities from fires. The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) reports candle fire incidents occur most often in the bedroom (45.2%), then in the family room (17.5%) and the bathroom (11.2%). The kitchen accounts for 6.3% of candle fire incidents. NFIRS also reports that the materials most often ignited by candles are cabinetry (9.4%); bedding (blankets, sheets, comforters, etc.) (7.7%); curtains and drapery (7.2%); mattresses & pillows (5.5%).
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.
- Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.
- 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, and sooting.
- Follow recommended burn times. This will ensure excessive heat build up.
- 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 10% of the wax is left.
- 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.
- 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.
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