Once a vital source of lighting in centuries past, candles today are a beautiful part of holiday celebrations, but their use does present an increase in fire danger in the average home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests that emergency fire crews respond to thousands of home structure fires each year because of accidental fires started by candles. These fires result in hundreds of millions of dollars of property damage and significant loss of life, as well as hundreds of injuries.
Danger in the Bedroom
At least a third of all candle fires start in the bedroom, and these fires cause a significant percentage of the injuries, casualties, and damage associated with candle fires. Most candle manufacturers recommend that candles shouldn’t be burned any more than about four hours at a time. Falling asleep with a nearby candle may allow a candle to burn for many more hours and increase the potential for fire danger.
Removing Sources of Flammable Materials
The United States Fire Administration suggests that over half of all the fires started by candles occur because a flammable item was placed too close to the candle. There are many flammable materials in the average home, such as mattresses and bedding, which are often too close to a candle that burns on a bedside table and catches fire while an unfortunate victim sleeps.
Candles should never be placed close to anything that may burn, like curtains, bedding, or holiday decorations. Placing a candle on a clean surface that is well away from flowing and flammable materials like curtains is essential for reducing the chance that an uncontrolled candle fire might start. Highly flammable materials can create a swift fire that barely gives the home security monitoring alarms a chance to notify home occupants that a fire has started.
Never Leave Candles Alone
Using preventative measures is a much safer way to use candles than leaving it up to the smoke detectors and the security alarm monitoring service. By the time the smoke detector starts its siren, the family might have less than a minute to exit the home, and if there are children or elderly residents in the house, successful evacuation could be almost impossible.
The National Candle Association (NCA) suggests that someone should be in the room when a candle burns. If everyone must leave the room, the NCA recommends that all candles are extinguished and never left alone to burn. Even if a candle is placed well away from flammable sources, fire is an unpredictable element and may not behave as expected.
Reinforce Security Measures
With the increased use of fireplaces and candles in the winter holiday season, homeowners should check the home security monitoring devices regularly. The NFPA data suggests that around two-thirds of the home fires that caused a death occurred in structures with no working smoke alarms or smoke detectors on the premises.
Installation of these devices is a vital method for reducing the chance that a candle fire might begin and make it impossible for a family to escape. After a smoke detector starts ringing, an occupant has only a few minutes to evacuate before issues of smoke inhalation and fire make escape impossible. A security alarm monitoring company can easily install detectors in every vital spot in the home to keep the family safe from an accidental candle fire.