By Bailey Breeding
Community Relations Intern
Rincon Valley Fire District

As the weather cools down here in Southern Arizona, candles can help bring a cozy feeling into a room. While candles are a popular way to decorate for the holidays, there are some precautions to help prevent home fires. More than one-third of home decorating fires are started by candles.

Before lighting a candle, cut the wick down to one fourth inch and select a space without drafts from vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning and excessive dripping. It is recommended that candles do not burn for more than four hours at a time, and are given at least two hours to cool before relighting. Never leave a lit candle unattended.

Make sure that there is nothing around the candle that could catch fire. Lit candles should be kept away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper and decorations. Keep children and pets away from lit candles.

If the flame becomes too high or flickers repeatedly, extinguish it and let it cool. Once it is cool, you can trim the wick and relight it. When extinguishing a candle, ensure that the candle is completely out and the wick is no longer glowing before leaving the room.
As the temperatures cool down, you may be bringing that space heater out of storage. Space heaters are a great way to warm up a room, but can lead to fires if not used properly. Keep the heaters at least three feet away from any flammable materials.

Place the heater on a solid, flat surface, out of the way of foot traffic, and never blocking an exit. Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet, never use an extension cord. Do not leave a space heater unattended. These heaters should be unplugged and turned off when you leave the room or go to bed.

Be careful with holiday decorations, choose ones that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Discard any lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Observe instructions regarding indoor or outdoor lighting, and avoid mixing them up. Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.

Remember to stay safe and warm this winter. Have a safe and happy new year from everyone here are Rincon Valley Fire District!

Bailey grew up in Vail and graduated from Andrada Polytechnic High School. She is interning at RVFD, where she is working on safety education outreach, while obtaining a degree in fire science. Bailey loves coaching volleyball and hiking in Arizona.

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