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Farm Bureau Insurance Safety Alert: Candles


Holiday Candles Brighten Rooms, But Also Present Risks

RICHMOND, VA, December 19, 2007 – Cinnamon, pine, and pumpkin scents may soon fill our homes with the aroma of the holidays. Dim, romantic lighting creates ambiance suited for holiday guests. By the flame of a lighted candle, family and friends gather to celebrate. Many Virginians use candles for a little extra touch to light up the holidays. Although beautiful, candles are a dangerous fire hazard if not properly placed and monitored.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, candle fires account for 2.4% of all fires and result in 6% of total injuries from fires and 3% of all fatalities from fires. These statistics are on the rise with the growing popularity of candle usage.

“Candles can be safe products if they are used and watched carefully,” says Jimmy Maass, safety coordinator at Virginia Farm Bureau. “Paying attention to basic fire safety rules will help you enjoy the season more and probably prevent a fire.”

Farm Bureau Insurance urges anyone who plans to use candles this holiday season and throughout the coming year to follow these safety tips provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the National Candle Association:

• Be sure to check your smoke detectors to ensure they are working properly.
• Use only with constant adult supervision.
• Always keep a burning candle within sight. Extinguish when leaving a room or going to sleep.
• Keep candles away from items that can catch fire (e.g., Christmas trees, flammable decorations and liquids, clothing, books, paper, and curtains).
• Make sure you place candles on a secure, heat resistant surface, in sturdy holders that will not tip over. Make sure the holders are non-combustible and big enough to collect all the dripping wax.
• Do not use candles in places where they can be knocked over by children or pets.
• Keep wicks trimmed to one-quarter-inch, and extinguish candles when they burn down to within two inches of the holder.
• Always burn candles in a well ventilated room. Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents, ceiling fans and other items that move air.
• Keep the wax pool free of wick trimmings, matches, and debris at all times.
• Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another.
• Extinguish a candle if it smokes, flickers repeatedly, or the flame becomes too high.
• Use a candle snuffer to extinguish a candle. Never extinguish candles with water.

Remember these NFPA tips when young children are present:

• Keep candles up high, out of reach.
• 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 sight and reach of children. The preferred storage area is a locked cabinet.

During power outages, follow these NFPA suggestions:

• Flashlights and other lights generated by batteries 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 something.
• Never use a candle for light when fueling equipment, such as a kerosene heater or lantern. The flame may ignite the vapors.

The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends, and there is no doubt that celebrating by candlelight makes the time all the more special. By utilizing these tips, you can ensure your get-together will have every bit of the festive cheer intended.

About Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Services
Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Services is committed to providing products that best meet the insurance needs of Virginia’s families and small businesses. An organization with more than 148,000 members, served by more than 100 county offices throughout the Commonwealth, Farm Bureau Insurance also offers a wide range of financial planning products and services. Visit Virginia Farm Bureau at



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