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Holiday Safety

candleHome Candle Safety & Use

The most recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Agency indicate an alarming upward trend in fires caused by home candles. Furthermore, there are twice as many fires started by candles in December as in an average month.

The NFPA study shows that 50 percent of home candle fires occurred because candles were left too close to combustible materials, while 18 percent of home candle fires began when candles were left unattended, abandoned or inadequately controlled.  Five percent of candle fires resulted from children playing with candles. Teenagers are at especially high risk for candle fires.

The Renton Fire & Emergency Services Department offers the following tips for safe use of candles during the holidays:

  • Use candles only with constant adult supervision.
  • Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep.
  • Keep candles well away from items that can catch fire, such as Christmas trees, flammable decorations, clothing, books, paper, curtains, etc.
  • Make sure candles are placed on sturdy holders a secure piece of furniture. Make sure holders are noncombustible and large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Do not place lit candles in windows where blinds or curtains can close over them.
  • Keep wicks trimmed to a quarter of an inch, and extinguish candles when they burn down to within two inches of the holder.
  • Do not put candles in places where they can be knocked over by children or pets.

Where young children are present:

  • Keep candles up high, out of reach of children.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a room with a candle.
  • A child should not sleep in a room with a lit candle.
  • Keep all matches and lighters up high and out of the sight and reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.

During power outages:

  • Flashlights are much safer light sources than candles.
  • Try to avoid carrying a lit candle.
  • Don't use a candle to go into a closet to look for things.
  • Never use a candle for light when fueling equipment such as generators or lanterns.

holidayRenton Fire & Emergency Services Department Safety tips for Christmas trees.

Between 1999 and 2002, Christmas tree fires were responsible for 14 deaths, 40 injuries, and $16.2 million in damage in the United States. The leading cause of Christmas tree fires was electrical shorts.

Safety Tips

  • Use safe tree lights. All tree lights should be listed by underwriter's laboratory.
  • Never use electric lights on a metal tree.
  • Never use damaged lights.
  • Always unplug lights when leaving home.
  • Never use candles to decorate a tree.
  • Keep live trees as moist as possible. Never let the holder run out of water.
  • Choose a sturdy tree stand that won't tip over.
  • Keep a watchful eye on children and do not let them play with the wiring or lights.
  • Carefully plan where your tree will be positioned. Make sure it is at least three feet away from any heat source.
  • Do not block your access to an exit with a tree.
  • Safely dispose of a tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried out trees are very dangerous and should not be placed in a garage or up against a house.