Spokane Fire Department suggests ways to help avoid a holiday tragedy

Michele Anderson, Public Safety Communications Manager 509.742.0063

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 10:26 a.m.

Residents must remember that while candles bring an added element to holiday celebration, the open flame of a candle can easily and quickly ignite any combustible that is close by such as curtains, draperies, bedding and holiday decorations.

“The holidays present great potential for candle related home fires,” says Spokane Fire Marshal Michael Miller. “Statistics show the top 4 days for home candle fires are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.”

The Spokane Fire Department suggests the following safety tips to help avoid a candle-related holiday tragedy from occurring:

  • If possible, avoid using lighted candles.
  • Use battery operated flameless candles as an alternative to traditional open flame candles.
  • If you must use candles, ensure that they are placed in sturdy holders.
  • Use candles in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders that are placed where they won’t tip over easily. Be sure they are large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Never use candles on live or artificial Christmas trees.
  • Keep candles away from items that can catch fire such as holiday decorations, curtains and draperies, bedding, clothing, books, etc.
  • Always extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Never leave your home with candles burning, and do not leave candles burning unattended.
  • Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.
  • Keep candle wicks trimmed to one-quarter inch, and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holders. Votive candles and containers should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.

“The majority of candle fires are preventable, says Miller. “By following a few candle fire safety tips, everyone can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.”

The Spokane Fire Department would like to wish everyone a safe holiday season. For more information on holiday fire safety tips contact SFD’s Fire Prevention Bureau at 509-625-7058. A variety of community education resources are also available to help meet the needs of both children and adults. Fire safety presentations can be arranged for neighborhood, business, civic, or education groups.