Candle season is here! Make it flameless
When fall arrives, it’s hard to resist bringing the scents of the season into your home. Cedarwood, pumpkin pie, baked apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of vanilla are some classic candle aromas which are making their way inside our apartments every fall season. Everybody loves them, and they’d be the perfect housewarming gift if they weren’t a concern for fire hazards.
According to National Fire Protection Association, from 2012 to 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 8,200 home fires started by candles which means an average of 23 candle-started fires per day.
The good news is that all renters insurance policies cover fire hazard damages, even if they were the result of the renter’s negligence (how many of us haven’t left a candle burning when stepping outside the apartment or falling asleep?)
Nevertheless, since a fire can become life-threatening in just two minutes, taking a few precautions when lighting candles or cooking may save your home and money down the road. You may be very familiar with some of the following pieces of advice, but it’s still worth restating them for a safe season.
- Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom, especially if you have pets
- Keep candles at least 1 foot away from anything that can burn
- Don’t use candles during a power outage; try flashlights and battery-powered lighting instead
- Check your smoke alarm’s battery every month, where it is the case
- Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler in your apartment
- Don’t handle open-flame sources (including candles and stove) with long-sleeved shirts
What to do in case a fire starts
- Call 911 or your fire department
- Keep in mind that smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling, so crawl low
- When trying to exit a room, feel the doorknob and door. If they are hot, leave the door closed and try a second way out
- If you cannot get out, keep the door to your room closed and cover door cracks and vents with cloth to keep smoke away. Meanwhile, call 911
- If your clothes catch fire, drop to the ground immediately and start rolling, covering your face
When moving into a new building, try to practice a fire safety plan with someone in your family, building manager or neighbors. This way, you will see if your apartment and community is equipped with all the necessary accommodations such as exit ramps and wide doorways. It’s always safe to contact your local fire department’s non-emergency line with questions.
Experts also advise to practice feeling your way out of the apartment in the dark or with your eyes closed. This way, you will rehearse escaping from a smoke-filled apartment.