Celebrity Nicole Richie’s hair catches fire while blowing out the candles on her birthday cake

Earlier this week in the news, it was reported that celebrity Nicole Richie’s hair caught fire as she blew out the candles on her birthday cake. Fortunately, the fire was put out in time to prevent serious damage beyond burnt locks, but the incident underscored how dangerous and scary fire can become in a matter of seconds, as well as the importance of using candles with caution and care.

Following are important candle safety tips:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least 12” away from candles.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Blow out candles when you leave the room or your home.
  • Place candles on sturdy surfaces where they won’t tip or get knocked over.
  • Use battery-operated candles, which look just like real candles and eliminate the risk of fire.

NFPA also offers safety tips when using religious candles.

To prevent hair or loose-fitting clothing from coming in contact with fire:

  • When blowing out birthday candles - or any candles, for that matter - make sure hair and loose-fitting clothing are kept away from the flame.
  • If you do need to extinguish flames on hair, it’s safest to smother the flames with a towel or blanket.
  • “Stop, drop, and roll” should only be used for putting out flames that come in direct contact with clothing. This essentially means: Stop where you are, cover your face with your hands, if possible, and roll over and over or back and forth until the flames are completely out.

When treating a burn:

  • All burns should be treated right away by putting it in cool water for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Do not apply creams, ointments, sprays, or other home remedies.
  • Get medical help right away by calling 9-1-1 or the fire department.

We hope Nicole Richie enjoyed the rest of her birthday without incident and will use her candle blowing scare to keep fire safety top of mind in years and celebrations ahead.

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Susan McKelvey
Communications Manager

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