State Fire Marshal Announces Candle Safety Day Is December 14

Below is a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:

STOW — State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced that Monday, December 14, 2020 is Candle Safety Day and advised people 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.

Christmas is #1 Day for Candle Fires

State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said: “Candles are a traditional part of our winter holiday celebrations, but this is also the time when we see more candle fires. Don’t let a candle fire ruin your holidays.”

The majority of candle fires happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, and in the past decade, more candle fires occurred on Christmas Day than any other.

  • On Christmas Day, 2019, the New Bedford Fire Department responded to a candle fire in a single-family home. It started in the living room. No one was injured at this afternoon fire. The building was not sprinklered and damages were estimated to be $100,000.
  • On Christmas Day, 2019, at 10:00 p.m., the Orange Fire Department was called to a candle fire in an 8-unit apartment building. A candle ignited a bedroom curtain. One person was injured. Smoke alarms were present and operated. The building was not sprinklered and damages from this fire were estimated to be $3,000.

Burn Candles inside a 1-Foot Circle of Safety

State Fire Marshal Ostroskey offers these safety tips to reduce the risk of fire:

  • Burn candles only inside a one-foot circle of safety, free of anything that can burn.
  • Never leave candles burning when you are not watching them or when you’re falling asleep.
  • Always extinguish candles after use.
  • When you go out, blow it out.
  • Use a non-combustible saucer or candleholder.
  • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
  • Consider switching to battery-operated flameless candles.

Switch to Flameless Candles

To be safe, consider using flameless candles in your home. Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage instead of traditional candles.

1/3 of Candle Fires in Homes Occurred in the Bedroom

In 2019, candles caused 92 fires, 13 civilian injuries, 19 firefighter injuries and an estimated $3.6 million in damages. Of the 75 candle fires in homes, one-third occurred in the bedroom. It is all too easy to fall asleep and leave a candle burning unattended. “Remember to blow out candles before leaving a room or going to bed,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey.

Practice Candle Safety

Candle fires have dropped 73% since they peaked at 342 in 1999. “Although candle fires are decreasing, we must continue to practice safe candle use, especially around the holidays,” he added.

10 Deaths in Candle Fires in the Last Decade; None Since 2016

There have been no deaths from candle fires since 2016, but there have been ten deaths in candle fires in the last decade.

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