September - Candle Safety
The time to discuss "Candle Safety" might be a little premature season-wise. But, as we all know, candles are now an integral part of the decorating schemes for homes and some offices as well. The NFPA has statistics showing us that the peak time for candle fires is during the Christmas and New Year's Holiday season.
The last data recorded on candle fires was 1999. An estimated 200 candle fires were recorded that year during the Christmas season, five times the number during any other time of the year. Candle fires represent 10 percent of all home fires on Christmas day and New Year's Day is second with 150 and Christmas Eve is third with 130. In this same year, there were 15,040 home fires by candles reported throughout the United States by fire departments to the NFPA. Included in this figure, were 102 civilian deaths, 1473 civilian injuries and $278 million dollars of reported property damage. It has been recorded that with candle fires;
- 40% start in the bedroom.
- 38% start from unattended candles.
- 13% start after the user is asleep.
- 8% start from people playing with the candles.
SAFETY TIPS FOR CANDLE USE
- Always extinguish candles when leaving a room.
- Keep candles away from all flammable objects and open flames.
- Don't place lighted candles in windows close to blinds or curtains.
- Avoid using candles where children are involved and keep matches or lighters out of reach and sight of the children.
- Display candles in sturdy, uncluttered surfaces.
- Keep wicks trimmed to ?" and extinguish taper and pillar when they get within 2" of the holder or decorative material. Votives and containers should be extinguished before the last ?" of wax starts to melt.
- Avoid candles with combustible items embedded in them.
- Never use a candle as a light when checking pilot lights or fueling equipment, such as a kerosene heater or lantern.
- Don't leave kids unattended in a room with a candle or allow a child to sleep in a room with a candle.
Respect candles for their intended use and
observe all the safety rules while in the process of using them.
They can be very soothing and tranquil.
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.