CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Candle Safety Day is on the second Monday of December, and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey is reminding everyone to follow safety guidelines as we are in the season when most candle fires occur.
Candles are a big part of different holiday traditions, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Just last year, there were 93 candle fires in Massachusetts and 75 took place in homes, according to a news release sent to 22News from the Department of Fire Services. The most common place for a fire was the bedroom, then the kitchen, bathroom, and living room.
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey offers these safety tips to reduce the risk of a fire:
- No matter the season, have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside bedrooms, at the top of open stairs, and at the base of cellar stairs
- Keep a one-foot “circle of safety” around candles, free of anything that can burn
- Always extinguish candles when you leave the room or go to sleep, and don’t leave them unattended
- Use a non-combustible saucer or candleholder
- Keep candles out of reach of children and pets, and store matches and lighters up high where kids can’t access them
- Consider switching to battery-operated flameless candles
“There have been more than 1,000 candle fires in Massachusetts over the past 10 years,” State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said. “Together, they caused nine deaths, 192 injuries, and over $32 million in damages. More of these fires started in December than in any other month, especially on the days leading up to Christmas. If candles are part of your celebration or decoration, be sure to use them carefully.”
“Candle fires peaked in Massachusetts in 1999, when we recorded 342 of them,” State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said. “The following year, we began observing Candle Safety Day on the second Monday of December to promote awareness of the problem. Since that time, we’ve observed a 73% decrease in candle fires. Let’s continue to practice safe candle use, especially around the holidays.”