People should handle candles with care

Tech. Sgt. Wayne Blake
435th Civil Engineer Squadron

***image1***Increasingly, firefighters are arriving on-scene to a deadly house blaze, only to discover that the destruction began from a harmless-looking candle. Every day in the United States, there are about 35 house fires started by candles alone, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
According to the NFPA, last year there were more than 150 deaths and more than 13,000 fires caused by candles in the United States. Almost half of the home candle fires started in the bedroom. Bedroom candle fires accounted for more than one-third of the candle fire deaths and more than half of the candle fire injuries.
To stay safe, never leave burning candles unattended, extinguish all candles before going to bed, make sure candles are placed on stable furniture and in sturdy holders that won’t tip over.
Keep candle wicks trimmed to one-quarter inch and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get within two inches of the holder or decorative material. Votives and containers should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.
Avoid candles with combustible items embedded in them.
The following are tips for lighting candles around children:
• 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.
• Don’t allow children or teens to have candles in their bedrooms.
• Store candles, matches and lighters up high and out of children’s sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.
During power outages people should:
• Try to avoid carrying a lit candle. Don’t use a lit candle when searching for items in a confined space.
• Never use a candle for a light when checking pilot lights or fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern. The flame may ignite the fumes.
If people practice good fire safety, they can enjoy the warmth and ambience that candles can add to their home.