candleCandles are one of the major causes of home fires, especially during the winter and Christmas holidays

Candles provide great warmth and ambiance to any home. It is easy to forget that such a calming artifact is an open flame that can reach 1,400 °C. Most candle fires begin in the bedroom – with a mattress or bedding cited as the first 

Statistics reveal that the most common causes of fire are:item to ignite – except during the holidays, when people may use candles precariously too close to decorations. Furniture and plastics are also cited as the first items in the home to catch fire from a lit candle.

  • Leaving candles unattended.
  • Falling asleep while a candle is lit.
  • Using candles for light.
  • Candles located too close to burnable objects.
  • Candles knocked over by children, pets or sudden drafts.

Candle Safety Tips:

  • Extinguish candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Keep lit candles away from items that can catch fire such as toys, clothing, books, curtains, Christmas trees and paper decorations.
  • Place candles in sturdy, burn-resistant containers that won't tip over and are big enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Don't place lit candles near windows, where blinds or curtains may close or blow over them.
  • Don't use candles in high traffic areas where children or pets could knock them over.
  • Never let candles burn out completely. Extinguish them when they get to within 5 cm of the holder or decorative material.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in a room with lit candles.
  • Do not allow older children to light candles in their bedrooms. A forgotten candle or an accident is all it takes to start a fire.
  • During power outages, exercise caution when using candles as a light source. Many destructive fires start when potential fire hazards go unnoticed in the dark. Recommended having a flashlight available in case of a power outage.
  • Never use a candle for light when fuelling equipment such as a camp fuel heater or lantern.
  • Keep candle wicks short at all times. Trim the wick to 6.4 mm.
  • Be wary of buying novelty candles. Avoid candles surrounded by flammable paint, paper, dried flowers, or breakable/meltable containers.
  • Extinguish taper and pillar candles when they burn to within 5 cm of the holder, and container candles before the last 2 cm of wax begins to melt.

Entertain Safely

  • Holiday wrapping can be highly combustible and should be kept away from heat sources such as candles, lamps, fireplaces and wood burning stoves.
  • Never throw wrapping paper in a fire place. Wrapping paper will burn rapidly causing a potentially dangerous situation.
  • Keep matches and lights up high, out of sight and reach of children.
  • When smokers visit your house, ask them to keep smoking materials with them, and away from small children.
  • After a party, always check on, between and under upholstery and cushions and inside trash cans for smouldering cigar or cigarette butts.

Decorating your home safely:

  • Use only non-combustible, flame retardant or flame resistant materials to decorate your home or tree.
  • Never use candles to decorate trees.
  • Keep candles away from decorations, trees and other combustible materials.
  • Keep candles in a sturdy holder away from children, pets and combustible materials. Blow them out before leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • To eliminate the risk of an open candle flame, use battery-powered candles whenever possible, especially when using candles in a decorative setting.
  • Purchase only lights and electrical decorations bearing the name of an independent testing lab (ULC or CSA, for example), and follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and maintenance.
  • Indoor lights should only be used indoors; outdoor lights should only be used outdoors.
  • Run outdoor light cords above the ground to keep them away from snow and water.
  • Carefully inspect new and previously used light strings, and replace damaged items before plugging lights in.
  • Be mindful of not damaging a cord's wire insulation when mounting lights. It is safer to use plastic clips instead of nails.
  • Keep pets and young children away from electrical decorations and light strings.
  • Locate decorations in an area that will not block or interfere with an exit, or exit route.
  • Space heaters need space - ensure at least one metre of clearance.
  • Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Never place furniture, rugs or other objects over electrical cords. Any damage the cord may sustain can go unnoticed.
  • Never overload extension cords.
  • Take down all decorations and bring outdoor electrical lights inside immediately after the holidays.


holiday kitchen fireHoliday Safety in the Kitchen

    • Never leave cooking unattended. This is the leading cause of kitchen fires.
    • Let your family know about the importance of paying attention to cooking.
    • If distracted by another activity or a phone call, turn off the heat before leaving the kitchen.
    • Turn pot or pan handles inward to prevent burns caused by overturned pots.
    • Wear short or close-fitting sleeves to avoid clothes catching fire.
    • Keep flammable materials, such as curtains, newspapers or plastic bags, away from heat sources such as
    • burners and the oven.
    • Have a pot lid nearby to smother a pan fire.
    • If frying foods, use a temperature-controlled electric skillet or deep-fat fryer

holiday treeChristmas Tree Safety

  • If purchasing a live tree, check for freshness by pulling on the needles. If they are brown or come off easily, the tree is probably dry and can be a fire hazard.
  • When setting up the tree, try to position it near an electrical outlet to keep cords short.
  • Cut two to five centimetres diagonally off the base of the tree, and place it securely in a large holder; ensure that the water in the holder stays at least one centimetre above the cut to prevent the tree from drying out.
  • Before leaving home or going to sleep, always unplug tree lights.
  • For an artificial tree, check the label to ensure it is fire-retardant.
  • If using an aluminum or metal tree, do not decorate with strings of lights or electrical products (these trees are conductors of electricity).
  • Make sure any tree is kept away from exits, heat vents, fireplaces, radiators, televisions and other heat sources.

Disposing of Holiday Trees

  • The best way to dispose of a live tree is to take it to a recycling centre or have it hauled away by a community pick up service.

Watch how a christmas tree burns:

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