Last year, there were 963 house fires in the UK alone that were caused by candles, many of which could have been avoided. We are often advised to include candles in our emergency kits as a means of backup lighting and extra heat but unless you use them safely, you may be putting yourself in even more danger.
Candles still produce an open flame and over 60% of fires caused by candles is due to combustible material getting too close. That little flame can turn in to a big fire in no time at all, and that fire could render your home uninhabitable.
Follow our tips below to ensure that the next time you use candles, you use them safely.
- Heat resistant surface – Make sure that you only place candles on heat resistant surfaces. Night lights and tea lights get hot enough to melt plastic.
- Candle holders – always use the correct holders for the candles in use. These should be stable and hold the candle firmly upright so that they won’t fall over.
- Candles and curtains – never place any burning candles near to curtains or other fabrics, and keep them out of draughts.
- Shelves – it is easy to forget how much heat is produced by a burning candle. Never place them under shelves.
- Children and pets – always keep a burning candle out of the reach of children and pets.
- Space apart – don’t place two burning candles too close to each other. Leave at least four inches between them.
- Votive and scented – votive and scented candles turn to a liquid to release the fragrance so be sure that you only use them in glass or metal holders.
- Don’t move them – never attempt to move a burning candle. If you must move them, extinguish them first.
- Leaving the room – extinguish any burning candles before leaving the room and never go to sleep with a candle burning.
- Putting them out – blowing a candle out can send sparks and hot wax flying. Instead of blowing a candle out use a snuffer or spoon.
- Be sure it’s out – just because you have extinguished a candle does not mean it won’t still start a fire. Make sure it is completely out and not still glowing.
- Ventilation – always use candles in a well ventilated area and never burn too many candles in a small room where air exchange is limited.
- Wax pool – keep the wax pool clear of matches and other debris to avoid flaring. These can ignite and cause the candle to overheat and flare up.
- Never extinguish with water – The water can cause the hot wax to spatter and the candle container to break.
- Two inches or less – replacing a candle more frequently costs far less than replacing your home. Don’t let a candle burn too close to the holder.
- Use common sense – in most cases, fires can be avoided by simply using a bit of common sense.
If there is a fire at your home, make sure you and your family get out right away! When everyone is safe, call for help. Never return to a burning home for any reason.
Do you have any candle safety tips? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the comments below.