Religious Candle Safety
Each year, Church properties experience serious fires resulting from the misuse of candles. The damage caused from these fires ranges anywhere from a few thousand dollars to total destruction costing millions of dollars. Since candles are an important symbol of the Church and are readily used in Church properties, the following guidelines must be followed to reduce the chance of fire in your facility.
- Material such as tile, stone, marble, or granite should be in place beneath the candle lighting/burning area. If candle stands are positioned over carpet, provide a fire resistant mat or Plexiglas sheet under the stands to reduce risk of fire and protect the surface underneath from damage due to dropped matches or spilled candle wax.
- Keep candles away from combustible items such as linens, runners, or curtains. Even flowers placed too close to a flame can ignite when they become dry.
- Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.
- Candles should be placed in double-insulated containers or secured by a sturdy noncombustible base/holder.
- Care must be taken in the placement of candles in relation to seating, foot traffic areas, and exits.
- Keep candles free of foreign objects such as matches and wick clippings.
- Ensure matches, lighting sticks and lighters are safely out of the reach of children.
- Provide a noncombustible container filled with sand to extinguish and place matches or lighting sticks.
- Keep wicks trimmed to one-quarter inch and extinguish them when they get to within two inches of the holder. Candles should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax begins to melt.
- Extinguish candles with a snuffer, avoiding burns from hot wax.
- Let candles and holders cool sufficiently prior to moving.
- Never leave a candle burning in an unoccupied room. The only exceptions would be for votive candles or the sanctuary lamp candle. These candles are specifically manufactured to burn until they self-extinguish.
- Never let candles burn for more than four hours at a time. The same exceptions as above would apply.
- The flame of a candle should not be closer than three inches to other candle flames.
- No lit candles on live or artificial holiday greenery. Exception: Any artificial wreath (i.e. advent wreath must be fire retardant treated and candles set in protective container).
- Ensure a 5 pound ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher is wall mounted near the location of candles.