Hanukkah Candle Safety Tips
‘Tis the season for gingerbread houses, games of dreidel and… open flames. It’s true, lit candles can add to the holiday ambience, but they can also be quite dangerous.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), besides Christmas tree fires, December is the peak time of the year for home candle fires. After all, candles are often used for seasonal decorations, menorahs and dinner table centerpieces.
Keeping that in mind, it is important to handle candles properly to avoid an accident. To help, we’ve compiled these basic candle safety tips. Let’s avoid potentially dangerous outcomes and focus on having a safe Hanukkah and holiday season.
Candle Safety Tips
Where to Place Your Candles
First things first, let’s talk about where (and where not) to place your open flames. The sad fact is, three out of five home candle fires happen when a candle is placed too close to something that can burn (according to the NFPA).
One of the best candle safety tips focuses on careful placement. Above all, you want to keep your candles away from anything flammable. This includes decorations, fabrics and wood, just to name a few. Remember that even a small breeze can create a fire hazard when a flame is in close proximity to these items. Speaking of which, it is best not to place your candle or menorah in the window, where it is near shades, curtains and other window treatments.
Even the surface you put your candle or menorah on is important. Your best bet is to place it on a non-flammable surface. Stone surfaces, like a marble countertop, tend to work well. This is another reason to be wry of windows – the sills are usually wood or plastic, which are both flammable.
Keep Things Sturdy
The worst thing that can happen when you have a candle lit in your home is for it to fall, exposing the flame to whatever is around it. To avoid this, make sure the candle fits snuggly into a reliable candleholder. Furthermore, make sure that the holder is placed on a secure, sturdy surface. For instance, look out for uneven wood and wobbly tables, which are less reliable.
Candle Safety for Pets and Children
When planning the placement of your candles, also be careful of any areas of the house where your pets or young children may venture to. Waggling tails, jumping felines and curious toddlers are not ideal to have near an open flame. Not only can it create a fire hazard for the home, it puts your children and pets in danger.
Simply put, candles should be out of the reach of children and pets. Children shouldn’t hold lit candles. Instead, the candles should be on high surfaces. Additionally, they should be kept from the edge of your furniture. You wouldn’t want them to fall and catch fire!
Have a Fire Safety Plan
A key rule of candle safety is to never leave lit candles unattended. If the unfortunate instance of a fire should occur, you will want to know as soon as possible. This way, you will be able to put it out before it grows. Nevertheless, you should prepare for the possibility of a fire in your home.
As an additional safety precaution, you should have smoke alarms in your home. This helps not only for fires started by candles, but also for kitchen fires and Christmas tree fires. Smoke alarms should be on each level of your home and outside of each sleeping area. Of course, you’ll need to check them regularly to ensure that they work properly.
In case of a fire, you should have an escape plan. Each member of the family should know and understand the plan as well, including children. Have a fire drill in your home to ensure that everyone knows how to proceed in the case of a fire.