The Washington State Fire Marshal has a Valentine’s Day warning: keep an eye on burning candles:
Last year, 124 candle fires causing over $4.5 million in damages were reported to the Office of State Fire Marshal by fire agencies across the state.
That number has increased by 33 fires and almost twice the cost in damages from 2009, $2.3 million.
Before using candles to “set the mood” this Valentine’s Day, residents should be aware that on average, 42 home candle fires are reported every day. Twenty percent of the fires, the candles were unattended or abandoned.
“Although the ambiance of candles is meant to be romantic, when handled unsafely, they have the potential to cause serious fires,” says State Fire Marshal Charles Duffy.
The state Fire Marshal offers the following candle safety tips:
· Always keep burning candles within sight and use candles only in rooms where there is a responsible adult to control and oversee the flame.
· Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep and do not use candles in sleeping areas.
· Keep candles away from combustibles such as clothing, books, decorations, window blinds, and curtains.
· Keep candles away from high-traffic areas where they can be easily knocked over, including any area accessible to children or pets.
· Place candles on stable surfaces in non-tip sturdy holders that grip the candle.
· Place candles in holders that can’t burn and are big enough to collect dripping wax.
· Use extreme caution if you carry a lit candle, holding it away from clothing and any combustibles that may be near your path of travel.