Whether it’s a menorah, a candelabra or a single taper, it’s safe to say that candles are everywhere this holiday season.
If you’re planning on lighting a candle or two this holiday season, here are the 10 commandments of candle safety.
1.Thou shall not leave thy candle unattended. This one is pretty obvious, but don’t be tempted to ignore it. Research shows that 17 percent of home candle fires happen when no one is keeping an eye on things.
2. Thou shall keep candles away from small children and pets. Keep your candle well out of reach of little hands and pets—and never let a child fall asleep beside a candle.
3. Thou shall not place candles on an unstable surface. Instead, place your candle on a steady piece of heat-resistant furniture.
4. Thou shall keep thy candle far, far away from other materials. This one’s a biggie when you consider the fact that 56 percent of home candle fires happen when some form of combustible material comes too close to the candle’s flame.
5. Thou shall trim the wick so it’s 1/4 inch at all times. Long or warped wicks are more likely to burn unevenly, drip or flare up. You can purchase candle wick trimmers specifically designed to promote cleaner, safer candle burning.
6. Thou shall read the manufacturer’s recommendations on burn time and proper use. Each candle is unique, so read the sticker instructions on yours. No sticker? Then seriously reconsider purchasing or using that candle. If it doesn’t meet labeling standards, it probably doesn’t meet other important fire safety standards.
7. Thou shall not burn a candle to the very end of its life. Burning your candle all the way down is a fire hazard. Instead, toss it when there’s two inches of wax left in a freestanding candle or ½ inch in a container candle.
8. Thou shall use a candle snuffer to extinguish a candle. In addition to adding an element of old-school formality to your candle burning, a snuffer prevents hot wax from splattering.
9. Thou shall place thy candle in a proper candleholder. Is your candleholder heat-resistant, sturdy and able to catch drips? If not, it’s time to invest in something new.
10. Thou shall extinguish a candle with a high or flickering flame. This is a definite fire hazard, so extinguish the flame, let the candle cool, trim the wick and inspect your home for any drafts before relighting.
If all this makes you wary of burning candles, consider flameless candles. Today’s models look surprisingly real. Plus, some let you control the flicker speed with a remote control and have timers that you can set for daily use. There are even flameless candles that emit scent.
Whether you opt for a real candle or not, make sure you and your family take the proper precautions when lighting candles for your holiday festivities.