Many put their homes -- and lives -- at risk by using candles carelessly, particularly during the holiday season.
The Hartford Financial Services Group, one of the nation''s leading providers of homeowners insurance, said candle fires are on the rise.
"With the growing popularity of candles as decorative lighting, we''re seeing a significant increase in home fires attributed to their misuse," said Ron Paice, The Hartford''s vice president of claims. "People leave burning candles unattended or place them too close to drapes, upholstery and other combustible material."
A recent study by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) found residential fires sparked by candles are twice as likely to occur in December than any other month in the year.
"Candles can offer a warm ambiance and a festive mood, but they can be dangerous if used carelessly," said Paice. "We urge everyone to take commonsense precautions when decorating with candles this holiday season."
The Hartford recommends:
- Never leave burning candles unattended.
- Place candles well away from curtains, bedding and other flammable materials.
- Keep candles away from table decorations, trees and other greenery.
- Don''t place lighted candles in windows.
- Don''t use candles to decorate a tree.
- Extinguish tapers when they are less than two inches tall.
- Trim candle wicks to be 1/4 inch.
- Extinguish all candles before going to sleep.
by Virginia Sutcliffe