burning candle

Use candles with care this holiday season, as December is the leading month for candle fires

Candles create a warm glow that can make a room look magically festive. Unfortunately, candles do present an increased risk of fire, particularly in December, the peak month for home candle fires. There are nearly three times as many candle fires on Christmas Day than the daily average.

To minimize the likelihood of candle fires this holiday season and beyond, make sure to place them on a sturdy surface and in a location that they can’t be easily bumped into or knocked over. Also, place candles well away from items that can burn, such as flammable decorations and greenery. Three of every five candle fires started when something that could burn, such as furniture or decorations, was too close to the candle. Candles also must be monitored carefully. Remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to sleep.

Our candle safety tip sheet,  which offers these and other recommendations for helping reduce the risk of home candle fires, can be shared with residents in your community. For tips related to religious holiday activities, use this religious candle safety tip sheet.

But in the event of a fire, added layers of protection are critical to safety, now more than ever. Modern home construction uses lightweight and synthetic materials and open floor plans that make fires burn more quickly and become more deadly than in the past. Smoke alarms alert home occupants that they need to get out, while home fire sprinklers begin to suppress the flames right away, giving occupants more time to escape and making the scene safer for firefighters once they arrive. According to recent research, sprinklers were effective in controlling the fire in 96 percent of the fires in which they operated.

With more people staying home due to the pandemic, protecting lives and property from the devastation that a candle fire can cause calls for adhering to safe behaviors and ensuring that smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers are working properly. Visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative for more resources on home fire sprinklers and how to educate your community on their benefits and how to get them.

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