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Indiana State Fire Marshal Reminds Hoosiers to Use Candles Safely This Valentine’s Day

February 11, 2011

02/14/11 While candles are a popular home décor item in many Hoosier households around Valentine’s Day, the Indiana State Fire Marshal is encouraging everyone to remember a few important safety tips, to help keep the holiday accident free.

“Many people enjoy using candles this time of year to help celebrate Valentine’s Day,” says Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “Candle light can be enjoyed safely as long as the candles are used properly and never left unattended.”

The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), candles are responsible for more than 15,000 fires in the United States each year, and cause more than 1,200 injuries and $450 million in property damage. Research shows that the bulk of candle fire incidents are due to consumer inattention to basic fire safety or to the misuse of candles. 

Tips to remember when using candles:

  • Keep candles away from items that can catch fire. Clothing, books and magazines, or curtains can be extremely flammable. According to the NFPA, more than half of home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left, or came too close to a candle.
  • Don’t leave candles burning in a room unattended. Extinguish them before leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Never use a candle as a night light.    
  • Use sturdy candle holders that will not tip or burn and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Keep all open flames – including candles – away from flammable liquids.
  • Place burning candles at least three inches apart to ensures they won’t melt each other, or create drafts that can cause the candles to flare.

For more home fire safety tips, visit the IDHS Preparedness web page at   

IDHS: Leadership for a Safe and Secure Indiana

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