For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Dory Ehrlich, Management Analyst, (510) 981-5506

Use Candles With Care

Berkeley, California (Saturday, October 22, 2005) - Berkeley Fire teamed up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to urge everyone to focus on candle safety during Fire Prevention Week, October 9-15, 2005. This year’s theme, “Use Candles with Care: When you go out, blow out!” concentrates on the home use of candles. Nine out of ten reported U.S. candle fires occur in homes.

In 2002, candles caused an estimated 18,000 structure fires, 130 civilian deaths, and $333 million in property damage in the U.S. Forty-one percent of home candles fires start in the bedroom, resulting in a quarter of associated fire deaths. Eleven percent of home candle fires start after someone falls asleep. Research also shows that candle fires follow a seasonal pattern. December has almost twice the number of home candle fires as an average month. Here are additional tips for safer use of candles in the home:

Always stay in the room where candles are being burned.

Keep lit candles at least one foot away from curtains, mattresses, and anything flammable

Keep candles, matches and lighters away from children.

Use sturdy candleholders that won’t tip or burn.

Burn candles on sturdy, uncluttered surfaces.

Trim candle wicks to one-quarter inch before lighting.

When lighting candles, keep your hair and clothing away from the flame.
Fire Prevention Week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned over 2,000 acres. Berkeley Fire Department urges everyone to use candles with care: when you go out, blow out! For more information, call the Department’s Fire Prevention Division at 510-981-5585.