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Fire Prevention Week slated from Oct. 9-15


October 05, 2005 - The National Fire Protection Association is urging the public to focus on candle safety during Fire Prevention Week, which takes place from Oct. 9 through Oct. 15.

As the theme makes clear, emphasis is placed on the need for increased consumer caution: "Use candles with care: When you go out, blow out."

The NFPA's public safety campaign and related materials concentrate on home use of candles, which represent a uniquely residential concern. Nine out of 10 reported U.S. candle fires occur in homes. Reported home candle fires rose 15 percent from 2000 to 2001, from 15,700 to 18,000, continuing a climb that began in 1990 when there were 5,500 candle fires.

Forty-one percent of home candle fires start in the bedroom, resulting in a quarter of associated fire deaths.

Eleven percent of these fires start after someone falls asleep.

The NFPA's research also shows that home candle fires follow a seasonal pattern — De-cember has nearly double the number of candle fires compared to an average month.

Leaving candles unattended and using candles for light were singled out in the NFPA's analysis as serious fire problems. Always stay awake and in the room where candles are being burned. In a power outage, it is safer to use flashlights or other light sources generated by batteries. Never use a candle for light when checking pilot lights or fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern, as the flame could ignite flammable vapors.

NFPA offers these 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 that can burn.

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.

Extinguish candles when they burn to within two inches of their holder.

More information about home candle fires and trends, along with specific fire safety advice to prevent candle fires, can be found in NFPA's Home Candle Fire report, available online at www.firepreventionweek.org.

The site also is home to a wide selection of free fire safety information.

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