7/16/2008 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Candles are found in almost every home. In the last few years, U.S. consumer retail sales for candles have been more than $2 billion annually, not including accessories.
Candles have been around for centuries. They are a source of light and delight when used properly and according to manufacturers' directions. However, if precautions are not taken, candles can also become a factor in a chain of events that can result in unnecessary injury and even death.
Nearly 85 percent of candle fire incidents in the U.S. were started because of consumer misuse of the product. Listed below is a breakdown of the categories of ignition factors as cited from the National Fire Incident Reporting System:
· combustibles too close to heat 17.7%
· unattended 16.0%
· misuse not specified 13.1%
· inadequate control of open fire 9.2%
· child playing 8.5%
· abandoned discarded material 7.1%
· falling asleep 4.3%
The following simple candle safety tips are important to memorize when using candles:
· Never leave a burning candle unattended.
· Never place a burning candle near other combustibles.
· Keep burning candles out of the reach of children and pets.
Some additional tips that will help you use and enjoy candles safely are:
· Keep candles away from drafts and vents.
· Trim wicks to one-fourth of an inch prior to each use.
· Normally do not burn candles more than four hours at a time.
· Extinguish taper or pillar candles when they get within two inches of their holders.
· Always use containers that have been made for candle usage.
· Discontinue use of a container candle when one half of an inch of wax remains.
· Keep matches, wick trimmings and foreign objects out of the candle wax.
· Do not place lit candles in windows, where they may come in contact with blinds and curtains.
Burning candles or using warming devices to heat incense, potpourri or wax for the purposes of fragrance is prohibited in the workplace.
Remember fire safety begins with you. For more information, contact the Scott AFB Fire Prevention Office at 256-3378.