They’re wonderful gifts and they smell amazing, but candles are very dangerous, especially if nobody’s around. There are a number of potential fire sources within the home or building, especially during the wintertime due to increased heat sources, but fires from candles alone have contributed to millions of dollars in property damage.
According to the Maryland State Firemen’s Association, fire departments across the country responded to an estimated 9,300 calls between 2009 and 2013. Within these calls, the fires caused $374 million in property damage, 827 injuries, and 86 deaths. But there are a number of prevention tips that can be taken to ensure this doesn’t happen within your home or building.
Candle Fire Statistics
- Of all home fires, candles caused 3% of fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries, and contributed to 5% of the property damage caused by home fires.
- 25 candle fires are reported each day within the home.
- Over 50% of all candle fires at home occurred when a combustible material was left too close to the flame.
- December is the most common time of year for home candle fires. During this month, 11% began with lighting up decorations, compared to 4% during other times of the year.
- 11% of home candle fires were the result of falling asleep and 30% of the associated deaths.
Candle Fire Safety Tips
- Before going to bed or leaving the room, be sure to blow out all candles. Avoid using candles in the bedroom.
- Never burn a candle down to the wick; blow it out before it gets too close to the container.
- Always use caution when lighting a candle. Prevent any loose clothing or hair from hanging over or close to the flame.
- Use candles that are sturdy and won’t easily tip over.
- Keep candles at least a foot away from combustible materials.
- Place candles on an uncluttered, flat surface.
- Don’t use candles as a source of light if the power goes out.
- Never leave kids or pets in a room with burning candles.
Other Fire Hazards in the Winter
Candles are a big concern during the winter as we use them to keep the home smelling nice and for relaxation and decoration. But we actually open the risk for home fires more during the winter than any other season due to the number of heat sources, such as candles, fireplaces, electrical lighting, space heaters, and cooking.
Check out these other fire hazards that are more common during the winter.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking accounts for the most amount of home fires and injuries throughout the year, especially during the winter. Here are some key fire safety tips to prevent fires while cooking:
- Never leave any hot appliances unattended when cooking.
- Keep all towels, potholders, paper products, and other combustible materials away from the stove.
- Prevent grease buildup on your stove by cleaning it regularly.
- Keep all children and pets away from the kitchen when you’re cooking/preparing food.
Not only is it dangerous for your health, but cigars, cigarettes, and pipes combined contribute to over 17,200 home fires in the United States. The smoking materials are also the lead cause of fire deaths in the country.
Prevent Fires When Smoking
- As tempting as it may be to smoke inside to avoid cold weather, resist the urge and go outside. The majority of all deaths from home fires from smoking start in living rooms, dens, family rooms, and bedrooms.
- Keep all lighters, matches, and cigarettes away from children, preferably locked away in a cabinet.
- Always put out smoking materials in a deep, sturdy ashtray. Never put them out in vegetation like mulch, moss, grass, or other plants that can burn easily.
- Ensure that the butts and ashes are completely out before walking away. Douse them with sand or water to be sure.
Improper electrical distribution accounts for 43% of Christmas tree fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. It’s understandable that lights add the extra aesthetics within the home, but just be careful of where they draw their electricity and the wattage capacity of the circuit.
Christmas Tree Fire Safety Tips
- Never decorate your tree with lit candles
- Always turn off the Christmas tree lights before going to bed
- Replace any lights with frayed or worn out wiring. Also be careful not to overload the circuit.
- If possible, switch out regular lights for LED light bulbs.
Washing Machines and Dryers
Around 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss results from 3,000 reported dryer fires each year. The majority of them occur in the fall and winter months with the peak time around January.
The majority of dryer fires occur as a result of the lint buildup within the filter. Because the dryer cannot properly release heat, the accumulation runs the risk of a dangerous fire.
Dryer Fire Safety Tips
- Be sure to clean the lint filter each time before using the dryer.
- Professional air duct cleanings should also take place at least once each year to prevent the buildup of debris within the air ducts
- Ensure that someone is always home and awake while the dryer is running.
Fire Damage Restoration
While they can occur any time of the year, home fires are most common during the winter due to the numerous heat sources. Simply forgetting to remove the lint from the dryer filter, walking away from a burning candle, or decorating a dry Christmas tree with old lights can be the end to a beautiful home and a happy holiday.
While these tips should help to prevent a home fire, there is no way to ensure they won’t happen. Many can occur through an unknown gas leak or from an outside source, like a forest fire. But regardless of where and how far the damage has spread, taking immediate action is crucial when it comes to saving the remainder of your home.
Serving Fort Wayne, IN and the surrounding areas, ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors is available 24/7 to provide fire damage restoration services. Whether caused by a candle or faulty wiring, our licensed and experienced technicians will respond right away to start cleaning, repairing, and restoring your property.
We will also provide content cleaning and pack out services for valuable items damaged from the fire. Finally, they will work with your insurance coordinator during the claims process so you can focus on other personal matters.