If you’ve ever been to the mall, you’ve certain walked into a Bed, Bath & Beyond or a Yankee Candle at least once. As soon as you step foot inside one of these stores, your nose is immediately hit with inviting fragrant candles and other scents. Did you know that burning candles accounts for 7,610 house fires every year? Candle burning is especially common during the colder months as families do everything they can to stay warm. To keep everyone safe inside your home, here’s what you can to prevent a potential disaster from occurring.

Stay close by – If you notice that your candle has a high, flickering flame, it’s time to extinguish it.

Keep an eye on your kids and pets – Don’t let your kids run around and be rambunxious around flames. Also, keep an eye on your furry friends to make sure they don’t tip any candles over. Finally, don’t let your kids or your pets fall asleep next to a lit candle.

Create more space – If you are going to use candles, make sure the areas around where you place them are free of clutter and rest on a stable surface. Do not place candles next to or close to anything that could catch fire.

Move flammable items – Candles should be kept at least a foot away from other items while burning.

Always trim the wicks – Wicks that are uneven are more likely to burn unevenly, drip, or flare up. Wicks should be trimmed to a ¼ inch for best use.

Read the label – Not all candles are the same, so it’s very important to read the label to make sure you know how long it’s safe to burn your specific candle.

Dip that wick – A wick dipper can help you prevent hot wax from splattering and can also keep your wick protected. They can also eliminate the black smoke you see when you decide to blow out your candle.

Know when it’s time to throw it away – Burning a candle down to the end of its life can be a serious fire hazard. Don’t do this! Instead, if it’s a freestanding candle, throw it away once it reaches two inches. If it’s a candle that rests in a container, it’s time to throw it away once it reaches half an inch.

Invest in quality – Cheap candles don’t last and, oftentimes, are less fragrant than more expensive ones. Pay attention to how many wicks a candle has. The diameter of the candle is important, too. If they diameter is too small, the candle can not only burn faster, it can create a bigger flame. Be careful with these kinds of candles.

Go flameless – There are alternatives to flammable candles. Consider flameless candles, pod warmers, or plug-ins.

While candles can certainly put you and your family in the spirit of the holidays, it’s important to always practice smart safety techniques. Additionally, if you haven’t called us about your homeowners insurance coverage lately, we can help you better understand what is covered and what isn’tif and when you need to file an insurance claim.