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Even one candle can start a fire that destroys your home.

a match being used to light a candle

This is an important time of year to focus on candle safety. In Los Angeles, home fires caused by candles are on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic means more people are at home, particularly in the evening, and the use of candles has become even more common than in a typical year.

Nothing adds to the spirit of the holidays like a collection of beautiful candles, glowing in the evening light. Nothing can ruin a holiday like a burned out home and a relative in the hospital – all as a result of careless use of candles.

During this time of year, many of us use candles for religious purposes – and if not, then for general mood and entertainment. Please have a look at these tips for ensuring your holiday and winter at-home activities are free from unwanted fires involving candles:

  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down to the base — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home (with a disabled person or older adult)
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles if the power goes out.

And, if you’re using candles as part of a religious activity, keep these tips in mind:

  • Candles should be placed in a sturdy candle holder.
  • Handheld candles should not be passed from one person to another at any time.
  • When lighting candles at a candle lighting service, have the person with the unlit candle dip their candle into the flame of the lit candle.
  • Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire.
  • Candles placed on, or near tables, altars, or shrines, must be watched by an adult.
  • Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • If a candle must burn continuously, be sure it is enclosed in a glass container and placed in a sink, on a metal tray, or in a deep basin filled with water.

A home destroyed by fire in Los Angeles

We also suggest you evaluate using battery powered candles as an alternative to wax/wick live fire candles. Technology today has made them far more realistic than ever before. Also, remember that having working smoke alarms can alert you and your family to a fire in your home before it takes over the house. Smoke alarms can double your chances of escaping a house fire alive.

Please consider these steps and ensure you follow the safety guidelines anytime you choose to use candles, during the holidays, cold weather, or at any time of year.

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