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Candles

From 2006-2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 11,640 home structure fires that were started by candles. These fires caused 126 deaths, 953 injuries and $438 million in direct property damage. Candles caused 3% of reported home fires, 5% of home fire deaths, 7% of home fire injuries, and 6% of the direct property damage from home fires in 2010.


Candle safety tips

Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a cause of home fires — and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.
  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep. 
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. 
  • Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles.

If you do burn candles, make sure that you...

  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface. 
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame. 
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container. 
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home. 
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles. 

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Religious candle safety

Lit candles are used in religious services, in places of worship, and in the home. Whether you are using one candle, or more than one on a candelabra, kinara, or menorah, make sure you take a few moments to learn about using candles safely. 

  • Candles should be placed in a sturdy candle holder. 
  • Handheld candles should not be passed from one person to another at any time. 
  • When lighting candles at a candle lighting service, have the person with the unlit candle dip their candle into the flame of the lit candle. 
  • Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire. 
  • Candles placed on, or near tables, altars, or shrines, must be watched by an adult. 
  • Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep. 
  • If a candle must burn continuously, be sure it is enclosed in a glass container and placed in a sink, on a metal tray, or in a deep basin filled with water.