In recent years, numerous fires have been caused by unattended candles. Nationally, candles cause an estimated 15,600 fires in residences, 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries, and $539 million in estimated direct property damage each year. More candle fires begin in the bedroom than in any other room. Falling asleep is a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 26% of the associated deaths.
Candle Safety Advice
- Avoid using lighted candles.
- If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass, or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Always burn candles on heat resistant surfaces. A candle can melt plastic.
- Never burn candles near combustibles such as curtains or decorations.
- Never put candles near windows or exits.
- Never leave candles within reach of small children or pets.
- Keep burning candles at least four inches apart.
- Votive and scented candles turn to liquid as they burn. Be sure they are in a glass or metal container.
- Extinguish candles before leaving a room or falling asleep.
- Keep the candle wick neatly trimmed down to 1/4 inch. Trimming the wick keeps the candle burning slower with less smoke.
- When a candle's flame gets too high, blow it out, let it cool, trim the wick again to 1/4 inch, and then relight.
Download the NFPA safety tip sheet.