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Fires Caused by Burning Candles on the Increase

A large selection of candles are available in many types of stores today. The popularity of candles has increased enormously recently, but unfortunately, so has the number of fires associated with the burning of candles.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, candles caused 9,930 fires, 126 civilian deaths and $170.6 million in property damage across the nation in 1996, the most recent year for which candle-caused fire data are available. This represents an 82% increase over the same categories from the year 1990. Most of these candle-caused fires started when burning candles were left unattended.

The Waldwick Fire Department offers the following advice for using candles safely:

  • Position candles well away from flammable objects and materials, and well away from any possible contact by pets or children.

  • Place candles on heat-resistant surfaces which will not transmit heat to the furniture on which they are placed. Ceramics work well for this purpose. Candles should also be placed in heat-resistant bowls that will catch the dripping wax, and secured in an appropriate holder so there is not the slightest possibility of the candle falling over, or being blown or knocked over.

  • Never leave a candle unattended.

  • Never light a candle in a situation in which you might fall asleep before blowing it out.

  • When blowing out a candle, hold your index finger in front of the flame and blow at it. Air will flow around your finger, extinguish the candle from both sides, and prevent wax from splattering.

  • Install a smoke detector in every room where candles are burned.

Candles are enjoyable, calming, and fragrant, but don't ever forget that when you burn them, you are dealing with fire. Always take proper precautions to prevent your enjoyable experience from turning into a disaster.

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