Facts About Home Candle Fires


Do you use candles in your home to decorate? According to the National Candle Association (NCA), candles are used in seven out of ten households in the United States.

Most people don't view candles as a fire hazard, but the number of home candle fires is steadily increasing.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that from 1983 through 1997, candles in the home caused an average of:

  • 8,690 fires,
  • 104 civilian deaths,
  • 947 injuries, and
  • an estimated direct property loss of $126 million.

Nearly half of home candle fires started in the bedroom, with 19 percent starting in living rooms, family rooms, or dens.  36% occurred because candles were abandoned, left unattended, or inadequately controlled.

A candle has an open flame that can easily ignite nearby combustible materials! The NFPA offers the following safety tips for using candles:

  • Use candles only with constant adult supervision.
  • Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep.
  • Keep candles away from items that can catch fire, such as Christmas trees, clothing, paper, or curtains.
  • Place candles and candle holders on a secure piece of furniture.
  • Make sure candleholders are non-combustible and large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Do not place lighted candles in windows, where blinds or curtains can close over them.
  • Keep wicks trimmed to 1/4 inch, and extinguish candles when they burn to within two inches of the holder.
  • Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.
  • Do not use candles in locations where they can be knocked over by children or pets.

During power outages...

  • Use flashlights or other battery powered lights.
  • Avoid carrying a lighted candle.
  • Don't use a candle when looking for items in a closet.
  • Never use a candle for light near a kerosene heater or lantern.
  • Extinguish all candles when leaving the home or going to sleep.
Candles can be a beautiful addition to your home decor when they are used safely!
Remember, "Blow Out when you Go Out!"

Back to Safety Tips