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Why It’s Important to Handle Candles With Care This Holiday Season

Photo: Courtesy of Anthony DELANOIX

Lisa Braxton

Public Education Project Manager, NFPA

Candles play a central role in holiday traditions. They help make the season festive and fragrant. Families gather around tables where candles set a warm and ambient setting. They are often used for religious and cultural observances, too. 

This appeal, however, can often give way to a false sense of security. Let’s not forget that candles feature an open flame, which means they can easily ignite anything that can burn. 

‘Tis the season for candle fires

According to a report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), candle fires are more common during the winter holidays with Christmas, New Year’s, and New Year’s Eve taking the top spots. So, what can you do to handle candles with care this holiday season?

Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Keep candles at least a foot away from anything that can burn. Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over. Never place lit candles in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire. Consider using battery-operated, flameless candles that can even have the look, smell, and feel of the real thing.

Make sure that candles used during religious services are in sturdy holders and that they are not passed from one person to another. If you are having a candle-lighting service, ensure the person with the unlit candle dips their candle into the flame of the lit candle. 

Every home should be equipped with working smoke alarms. Places of worship should feature fire detection and sprinkler systems.

Follow these tips for a holiday season that is merry and bright, and candle-safe!

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