STOW, MA — State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced that Monday, December 11, 2017 will be Candle Safety Day and advised consumers to use candles safely during this holiday season and throughout the year. The second Monday in December has been established as Candle Safety Day by MGL C.6: S.12XX to promote the safe use of candles in the Commonwealth.
More Candle Fires Happen During Winter Holidays
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Starting with Halloween, we use candles to celebrate many of the winter holidays. Sadly, the increased candle use at this time of year causes an increase in candle fires.” In the past five years, more candle fires happened between Halloween and New Year’s Eve than any other time. “Candles should be blown out whenever you leave the room or go to sleep; and children should always be supervised around burning candles,” he added.
Burn Candles Inside 1-Foot Circle of Safety
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey recommends that in order to reduce the risk of fire, candles should be used inside a 1-foot Circle of Safety, and offers these safety tips:
- Burn candles inside a one-foot circle, free of anything that can burn.
- Never leave candles burning unattended.
- Always extinguish candles after use.
- Use a non-combustible saucer or candleholder.
- Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
- Consider switching to battery-operated flameless candles.
Nearly 40% of Candle Fires in Homes Occurred in the Bedroom
In 2016, candles caused 98 fires, one civilian death, 15 civilian injuries, no firefighter injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $3.4 million in damages. Of the 71 candle fires in homes, 39% occurred in the bedroom. It is all too easy to fall asleep and leave a candle burning unattended in the bedroom. “Remember to blow out candles before leaving a room or going to bed,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. Candle fires have dropped 71% since they peaked at 342 in 1999. “Although candle fires are decreasing, we must continue to practice safe candle use,” he added.
1 Fatal Candle Fire Caused 1 Death
One fatal candle fire caused one fire death in 2016.
- Late in the evening of February 5, 2016, the Avon Fire Department was dispatched to a fatal candle fire in a single-family home. The sole occupant of the home, a 56-year old woman, discovered the fire and called 911. Arriving firefighters found her outside of the home in respiratory distress, but she refused medical treatment. The woman told firefighters she had left a candle burning unattended in the kitchen which ignited nearby paper products. She passed away a week later from respiratory failure due to smoke inhalation. The smoke alarms failed to operate, there were no fire sprinklers, and damages are estimated to be $199,694.
For more information, visit the DFS Candle Fire Safety webpage.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.)
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