State fire officials urge safe use of candles during holiday season

Posted: Monday, December 09, 2002

Christmas trees, advent wreaths, fires in the hearth and the warm glow of candles can make for a great holiday scene -- or a tragic one.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, candles are responsible for about 9,400 home fires and 90 fatalities each year, and about one-fourth of all candle-related fires occur during the holiday season.

That's why State Fire Marshal Gary Powell and the Alaska Division of Fire Prevention are encouraging home-owners to use extra caution this holiday season.

The division recommends the following candle-use tips to help residents make sure their holiday celebrations stay safe:

Burn candles inside a 1-foot circle of safety, away from anything that can ignite.

Extinguish candles after use or whenever leaving the room.

Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.

Use a sturdy metal, glass or ceramic candleholder.

Don't place lit candles in windows where blinds and curtains can ignite.

Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.

Don't let children or teens have candles in their bedrooms.

During power outages, use flashlights, not candles.

Never use a candle for light when checking pilot lights or fueling equipment.

As always, test smoke detectors during the holiday season.

For more information on winter fire safety, call your area fire department.

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