Valentine’s Day’s is almost upon us, hurrah! But this year, the swarm of celebrity chefs that have been emerging, and rumours of a triple dip recession, are likely to send us skipping to the kitchen to prepare a candle lit meal for two. We could have a problem, according to US statistics released by the NFPA.
According to the NFPA, from 2006 to 2010, 42% of all US house fires were caused by cooking. That’s four out of every 10 fires! And 3% of all fires were caused by candles, which sounds insignificant until you realise they accounted for 5% of the deaths.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – by following some simple fire safety guidelines, you can reduce your chances of becoming one of these statistics.

An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle ho...

An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle holder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make sure you’re bright eyed and bushy-tailed
Firstly, don’t ever light a candle or switch on the stove if you’ve had any alcohol or you’re feeling tired. When you’re not in complete control of yourself, you can become careless when cooking or fall asleep while a candle is lit.
Use a specialist, long reach lighter
When lighting a stove, excess gas can be released while you fumble about with matches or standard lighters. A specialist lighter has a simple button that will get the flame going sooner.
Long reach lighters will also keep your hands and loose sleeves well away from naked flames.
Never leave flames unattended
If you need to leave the room, extinguish the flame. Remember, it doesn’t take long for a fire to spread – you want to be in the room if one starts.
From 2006 to 2010, one out of every four fires spread to more than one room. By being in the room of ignition, you’re reducing the chance of this happening to you.
Keep loose fabric well clear of your candles and cooker
This includes curtains and oven mitts. Never lean over candles or cookers – the fabric you’re wearing is the last thing you want to see ignite.
Keep flames away from furnishings
From 2006 to 2010, 32% of fires’ sources of ignition were upholstered furnishings, mattresses and bedding. Your furniture is flammable too.
Take care when positioning your candles and pots
Pot handles should face away from the cooker on either side. This means the handle is away from flames and isn’t sticking dangerously out the front of the stove.
Candles should be placed out of the reach of children and pets. They should never be put directly onto a surface, either – make sure you use a candle tray or holder.
Keep the area draught free
Wind can spread sparks – so keep your window closed when cooking, and make sure you keep your candle well away from draughts.
Never walk with your candle
It’s not a great idea to walk around with a hot candle. If you want to take your candle to another room, put the flame out then wait for the candle to cool.
Check your smoke alarm is working
It’s easy to forget about your smoke alarm, but if a fire starts blazing you want it to be working.
It’s important to have a functioning smoke alarm on every level of your home.
Check it’s working weekly, change the batteries annually and replace it every decade. Oh, and to ensure the sensor is kept clean, take a vacuum to it every two years.
Author bio for this guest post:
National Fire Protection AssociationNatasha Sabin is an avid blogger and fire safety enthusiast. She’s been let loose by Fire Safety Suppliers to share new, exciting and somewhat disturbing developments in the world of fire. Email, or visit
Source for statistics: