INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): Candlelight and fireplaces are a popular and romantic Valentine’s Day tradition, but the Indiana State Fire Marshal is reminding all Hoosiers to celebrate in a fire safe way.
“We don’t want to get in the way of a good Valentine’s Day experience, but we do want people to be careful,” said Jim Greeson, Indiana State Fire Marshal. The Indiana State Fire Marshal oversees the Indiana Department of Homeland Security Division of Fire and Building Safety.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 84 percent of home heating fires are confined fires, such as one that occurs in a fireplace or chimney. Greeson has passed along the following preventive tips:
Keep an eye on the fireplace.
- Never leave the fireplace unattended.
- Do not leave small children or pets near the fireplace without supervision.
Be firewood smart.
- Avoid overfilling the fireplace. Too much firewood can produce excess smoke and lead to dangerous flammable build-up in the chimney.
- Use seasoned wood. This is wood that has been split for at least six months. Unseasoned wood can cause build-up of a flammable material called creosote.
Don’t forget the chimney.
- Have the chimney checked by a professional each year and have it cleaned if needed.
- Make sure the professional who inspects the chimney looks for cracks and loose bricks.
- Keep the outdoor area near the chimney clear — trees and branches should be at least 15 feet away.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, about three out of every five candle fires start because the candle is too close to a flammable object like a piece of furniture, bedding or a curtain. Most candle fires can be prevented by following simple candle safety tips:
Choose safe candles.
- Consider purchasing a flameless candle instead of a traditional candle. Flameless candles are similar to regular candles in appearance and scent.
- Purchase sturdy and clean candles. Do not purchase a candle that is uneven (likely to fall over) or dirty with dust or debris. If using a candle from a collection at home, remove any dirt or dust before lighting the wick.
- Review the care instructions for a candle prior to using it or giving it as a Valentine’s Day gift. Some common care instructions include: cut down the wick to one fourth of an inch, burn the candle on a heat resistant surface and discard the candle when half an inch remains.
Know when to burn a candle and when not to.
- Candles should never be left unattended. Be sure to put out the flame before leaving the room or the home.
- Do not burn a candle during bedtime. Avoid burning candles when drowsy and do not leave them burning overnight.
- Do not use candles as a light path or as an alternative way of lighting the home.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from other items, especially flammable objects.
For more tips to keep this Valentine’s Day flame brightly, and safely burning, visit GetPrepared.IN.gov.