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Candles, Lighters & Matches
Candles may be pretty to look at, but they are a common cause of home fires—and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means it can easily ignite anything that can burn. Place all candles, matches, and lighters out of reach of children. Never leave kids alone in a room with a burning candle. Don’t allow teens to have candles in the bedrooms.


  • Candle fires have tripled in the past 10 years. On average, there are 35 home candle fires reported each day.
  • Roughly 40% of these fires started in the bedroom. Falling asleep was a factor in 12% of home candle fires, and 42% of associated deaths.
  • More than half (55%) of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 12,900 candle-related home fires each year between 2005-2009, causing an average of 140 deaths, 1,040 injuries, and $471 million in direct property damage.
  • According to the NFPA, the national fire rate in 2008 was 12.0 deaths per one million in population. South Carolina ranked 9th in fire deaths, with 18.7 deaths per one million residents.
  • Candle fires peak on Christmas day, followed by New Years and Christmas Eves.
  • More than 33% of candle fires occurred when the candles were left unattended or abandoned.
  • Half the people killed by candle fires in the home were younger than 20, with most of the victims between the ages of 5 and 9.

  • Using candles with flame-protective, non-combustible shades or globes.
  • Using a sturdy metal, glass or ceramic candle holder.
  • Avoiding the use of candles with embedded combustible decorative items.
  • Placing candles at least 4 feet away from curtains, draperies, decorations, blinds and bedding.
  • Placing candles out of reach of small children and pets.
  • Refraining from using decorative/floral candle rings.
  • Extinguishing candles before leaving the room.
  • Extinguishing candles when they burn within two inches of the holder.
  • Never leaving burning candles unattended. Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Thinking about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles.
  • Never using a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Having flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.


    Multi-purpose and cigarette lighters, by federal standard, must be child-resistant. However child resistant is not childproof. Children as young as two years old are capable of lighting cigarette and multi-purpose lighters.

    Keep matches and lighters locked-up and away from children. Check under beds and in closets for burnt matches—evidence your child may be playing with fire.

    Teach your children that fire is not a toy and to never play with matches, cigarette lighters, or multi-purpose lighters.
    Have a match and lighter round-up. Ask your children to tell you where all the matches and lighters are located throughout your home.

    Store lighters and matches out of sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet or drawer. This includes multi-purpose or barbecue-style lighters.

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