(COLORADO SPRINGS) — There is a rise in home fires each year in December due to candles, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSFD). The National Fire Protection Agency provides tips to safely use candles this holiday season.

CSFD tweeted “According to the NFPA, December is the peak month for home candle fires. Candles are a cozy touch to your holiday decor but can cause fires if improperly handled. Keep candles at least 1 foot away from anything that can burn. #CandleSafety #HolidaySafety #FireSafety #csfd” on Monday, Nov. 28.

NFPA Candle with Care
Courtesy: National Fire Protection Association

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), December is the leading month for home fires from candles. Here are some candle safety tips from the NFPA:

  • Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least one foot away from anything that can burn.
  • Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn the candle all the way down – put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.
Kathy Hook CSFD
Courtesy: FOX21 News Photojournalist Hannah Henry

CSFD has more tips for fire safety with lights. Kathy Hook, Fire and Life Safety Educator with CSFD said, “Be extra aware of pets, kids that are around candles because they can get tipped over, when they get too hot, if it’s a liquid candle that can tip over, cause severe injury. Just really asking people this time of year to blow out those candles before you go to bed.”

Some other lighting tips from CSFD are:

  • Choose holiday lights that have been tested and deemed safe by a reputable testing laboratory, the best are UL or ETL. Lights listed as safe by these laboratories will note that on the packaging.
  • Try to use the cooler-burning “mini” lights as opposed to the traditional larger bulbs. The older style burns much hotter.
  • Only use holiday lights that have fuses in the plugs.
  • Never put more than 3 strings of lights together! Overloading your electrical outlets can lead to a fire.
  • Never hang holiday lights on a metal tree. The tree can become charged with electricity and shock someone or it could short out the lights and cause a fire.
  • When you leave or go to bed at night, turn off all of your holiday lights.
  • Never pull on a string of holiday lights, it stresses the cords and can lead to fraying.
  • Store holiday lights loosely wrapped so it will minimize the risk of fraying.

Stay safe this holiday season and decorate with safety and care.