Candle Safety

  Candles may be beautiful, but too often they are the cause of deadly home fires. In 2001 alone, candles started an estimated 18,000 home fires and caused 190 deaths. Unfortunately, young school-age children are the most likely to be the victims of fires started by candles.

Candle Fire Statistics

Over the last decade, fires attributed to candles have tripled. In 2001 alone, an estimated 18,000 home fires started by candles were reported to fire departments, an all time high. These fires resulted in 190 deaths, 1,450 injuries and an estimated property loss of $265 million.

Forty-one percent of U.S. home candle fires begin in the bedroom, causing 24% of the deaths resulting from these fires.

A special study found that the candles were being used for light in one-third of the fatal home candle fires, generally because power to the home had been shut off due to nonpayment (24%) or as a result of a temporary power outage (7%). December had almost twice the number of home candle fires of an average month.

Seven out of 10 households in the U.S. now use candles, with younger adults more likely to use them than older adults.

Safety Tips When Using Candles

  • Make sure a grown-up is always in the room when a candle is burning.
  • If a grown-up does leave the room, make sure he or she puts out the candle first.
  • Never burn candles in bedrooms.
  • Don’t let teenage brothers and sisters burn candles in their rooms.
  • Set up a ‘kid-free’ zone around burning candles: no playing with or near candles, with candle wax, or with things that could catch fire near candles.
  • Keep candles at least a foot away from anything that could catch on fire.
  • Don’t put candles in windows or doorways where the wind could knock them over, or blow things into them that could catch on fire.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children’s sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Make sure to use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily, and are big enough to catch any wax that drips from the candle.
  • Don’t let kids light candles (and grown-ups should be careful to keep hair and any loose clothing away from the flame).
  • A grown-up should put out candles by using a snuffer or by blowing softly. Be careful of splattering wax. It is hot and can burn you.
  • Grown-ups shouldn’t leave the room until wicks have stopped glowing.
  • Kids should always make a wish before they blow out — CAREFULLY — their birthday candles.
  • Sometimes grown-ups use candles because the power has gone out in a big storm, or because there is no electricity in the home. But Sparky wants to make sure that you and your family are safe from fire – even during an emergency. If the power does go out, use flashlights and lights that use batteries. Make sure to have extra batteries on hand.