Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fire Safety and Smart Candle Burning

As a spiritual practitioner, I have probably burnt thousands of candles in my life. And through it all, I've never burnt my house down, and in fact have had many worse fire threats from electrical equipment than I have had from open flames. Still, fear of fires are a big issue for many people, and over 9,000 fires a year are started by candles. Here are some tips for safe candle burning at home:

Make sure your candle is securely set up.

You don't want your candle falling out of its holder or being knocked down while it burns. Make sure that your candle is sitting securely in its burner before lighting it, and consider melting the bottom of the candle to secure it before lighting it -- dipping the end in hot water to soften it and then mashing it into the holder works well for some.

Choose a safe holder.  

Never burn a candle without some kind of a fireproof holder. Not all holders are fireproof as there are some unfortunate models made from flammable materials like wood and plastic which are meant for decoration rather than function. Instead try to choose holders made from metal or ceramic. Also remember that melted wax is not only messy, but that flames can travel through it (it is, after all, fuel.) It's advisable to set your candelabra or candlestick upon a fireproof tray or dish to catch any falling wax drips.

Burn candles in an isolated, empty space.

You don't want visitors, children or pets tampering with your candles while they burn. You don't really even want yourself to be there knocking things around. Find a location where no one goes and where there is little to no "stuff" nearby -- and this includes above and below the candles. Keep the candles at least 12 inches out of reach to anything that could catch fire. Of course, also choose a place that is accessible to you, so that you can reach the candles easily if a problem appears despite your precautions.

Keep water, baking soda or fire extinguishers nearby.

In the event that there is a problem with your candle flame, being able to put it out in a hurry makes the difference between a forgettable incident and a horrible event. Dumping water or baking soda on a little fire will swiftly end the matter. A larger fire might require an extinguisher.

With due care, you'll be able to safely leave candles burning for days at a time.

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