Power Out, Fire Safety On: How to Practice Safe Candle Use this Hurricane Season
WASHINGTON DC, August 9, 2017 — Summertime is peak hurricane season, and these severe weather occurrences can lead to a temporary loss of power. The U.S. candle industry and state fire marshals urge consumers to exercise caution when using candles or other open flames.
Individuals are particularly prone to fire-related incidents during power loss; in fact, it’s when approximately 26% of fatal candle fires occur. While flashlights and battery-powered lamps should be used as the primary light source, candles are often used as an alternative, especially in the case of prolonged power failures.
Although power outages resulting from hurricanes or other severe weather may be a temporary inconvenience, abiding by fire safety rules will mitigate the chance of any long-term repercussions. The National Candle Association and the National Association of State Fire Marshals recommend the following tips to ensure the safety of your family and home:
- Never leave a burning candle unattended. Try to allocate one room in the house for people and candles, so that their locations can always be accounted for. Be sure to consistently extinguish candles upon leaving a room.
- Extinguish candles safely. Extinguish the candle by cupping your hand behind the candle flame prior to blowing it out – you may also snuff out the flame with a metal candle snuffer. Be attentive to sparks or embers. If blown from the candle, they could ignite neighboring combustibles.
- Pillar or container candles are a better choice during a power outage. Unlike taper candles, broader-based candles are less likely to be unintentionally knocked over. When possible, placing glass globes around the burning candle can provide additional protection from burns or fire.
- Try to avoid moving a burning candle during a power outage. It is easy to trip in the dark or brush against something flammable. Container candles may also be too hot to handle and dropping one could start a fire.
- Place candles on a stable surface in a fire-resistant holder at least 12 inches away from anything flammable. To guarantee added safety when the lights go out, a candle in its holder may be placed on a stable, nonflammable surface, such as a metal cookie sheet, frying pan, or ceramic dinner plate. Remember to distance the candle from upholstered furniture and window drapes.
- Avoid using candles to search for items in a closet or small confined space. Many items located in closets such clothes, papers, or boxes are flammable and could spark a fire.
- Never fall asleep while candles are burning. Blow out all candles before going to bed, and never use a candle as a nightlight.
- Keep burning candles away from drafty areas such as open windows, vents, and ceiling fans. This helps avoid flame flare-ups and sooting. Drafts can also blow nearby lightweight items into the flame where they could catch fire.
- Make sure the candles are well out of the reach of children and pets. Young children are especially prone to bumping into things in a dark room.
- To learn more about candle fire safety, visit http://candles.org/fire-safety-candles/.
National Candle Association (NCA) is the trade association representing U.S. candle manufacturers and their suppliers. It is widely recognized as the leading technical authority on candle manufacturing, science and safety. Visit www.candles.org.
National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) members are the senior state-level fire safety officials in the U.S., including the District of Columbia. NASFM’s primary mission is to protect human life, property and the environment from fire and related hazards. Visit www.firemarshals.org.