Imagine the perfect Valentine’s Day dinner, champagne, and candlelight.
What could go wrong?
Plenty, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The group is warning people not to get too “caught up in the heat of the moment” this Valentine’s Day by practicing candle safety.
“Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a cause of home fires — and home fire deaths,” the organization stated.
On average, candle fires have caused 81 deaths, 677 injuries, and $278 million in direct property damage annually.
That doesn’t mean doing without this Valentine’s Day.
To avoid ruining a romantic evening, the association offers this advice:
Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that is flammable
- Use sturdy candle holders, place them on sturdy, uncluttered surfaces.
- Avoid placing candles in the bedroom.
- Blow candles out before you leave a room or go to sleep.
- Beware of lighting up your hair or any loose clothing when igniting candles.
- Avoid burning a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
In Michigan, one fatal candle fire incident was reported in the last six months, said state Fire Marshall Kevin Sehlmeyer.
Last year, 120 people died in fires statewide, he said.
“We understand that people enjoy candles, but you also have to respect that you have something lit,” Sehlmeyer said. “That’s something as simple as a candle can actually cause a fire.”
Three out of every five candle fires are started when a flammable piece of décor, such as furniture, mattresses, bedding, curtains, home decorations, paper or clothing, is placed too close to a lit candle.
For example, some people might place a candle in the bathroom, on the back of their toilet — a towel that hangs above could catch on fire, Sehlmeyer said.
The fire safety group encourages people to use flameless candles, which can look and smell like real candles.
“We want everybody to enjoy Valentine’s Day, but we want to make sure that no one has a fire,” Sehlmeyer said.
Everyone needs to make sure they have working smoke alarms.
“I would ask people to push the button on all their smoke alarms,” he said. “Make sure that they work, and you should have a smoke alarm at every level of your home and you should have a smoke alarm in every sleeping area or bedroom.”
Contact Nour Rahal at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nrahal1.
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