By Andrew R. Bronsnick
With the holiday season in full swing, you should be aware of a possibly-dangerous mix of flammable items and materials in your home or business. The most notable items would be candles, trees and decorations.
As previously discussed, businesses have inherent risks when planning any celebration involving candles. But the risk transcends into homes as well. Between Chanukah, Christmas, New Year’s and other end-of-year celebrations, the mix of candles, trees and crowding can put you and your family at risk for fires.
Candle and Fire Facts
Candles are used in seven out of 10 U.S. households, and about one-third of all retail sales occur during the holiday season, according to the National Candle Association. And with more candles in homes and businesses, that certainly correlates with the increase in fires.
December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 12% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), the top 3 days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
So before you host or attend a party with lots of candles, be sure to check how close they are to each other as well as to other decorative items, like trees and cloths, and that they are out of reach of children. The NFPA suggests that candles be kept at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.
Some other safety tips include:
- 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 blinds or curtains can catch fire.
- Candles placed on, or near tables, altars, or shrines, must be watched by an adult.
- 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.
From 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 8,200 home structure fires that were annually started by candles. These fires caused an annual average of 80 deaths, 770 injuries and $264 million in direct property damage. The civil litigation that arises from fire injuries, deaths and property damage are immense, and can easily be prevented by following the tips above.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a fire, you need an experienced lawyer to present your injuries during insurance matters, litigation and workers’ compensation board hearings. We’ll also prepare and file any required documents and will be the voice for you and your family in all hearings or proceedings. Our role is to help protect you.