Sunday, December 4, 2011

Candle Safety 101

Hello again!   I know I was on a blogging roll for awhile but have been quiet for a few weeks.  I've been here, and there...And promise to write about it soon!  This, however, could not wait.  With Christmas just days away, this story is a good reminder to take care with fire, candles and lit Christmas trees.

I knew this before moving here and have observed it since arriving: Danes love their candles.  These are not just average Yankee Candles in glass jars.... Nope, they are slender 'stick' candles, with added height from extra-tall, very thin, candle sticks.  I've only been here 2 months and have averted one tipping candle disaster at a friends house.  They just seem dangerous!  I happen to love candles though and decided that my first candle-holder would be a "windmill pyramid" that I purchased in Hamburg last weekend.  I had lit it a few times to show ed, watch the windmill turn, take a few pictures...but I had never left it lit for longer than 5 minutes and definitely never unattended. 
Note the blue sky-a rarity these days

Tonight, we had some friends over for dinner and I thought it would be the perfect time to actually use my new & fun candle holder.  We were sitting around the table so I figured that it would have plenty of supervision.  I am sure that you can see where this story is headed so I will skip to the end.  I looked down and realized the solid wax was gone and that lit wick had tipped to the side and was leaning over the metal and onto the wooden portion of my windmill. (I would like to know who thought that making a candle holder out of wood was a good idea??)  I quickly blew out what was left of the candle before any serious damage occurred. Ed said he was going to throw the windmill pyramid away ASAP but I hope that it he doesn't because it will now serve as a reminder for me to be careful with my beloved candles...though I don't think I will be using it again in the near future..
Disaster averted
A wooden, varnished candle holder??

In the first paragraph, I mentioned that this would serve as a good "candle safety" reminder since Christmas was near.  I remember hearing once that more house fires occur around the holidays and was going to write that but decided that I would just search around the internet first to see what the great Google had to say about fires and Christmas.  The first website I came to had this list of facts about house fires that caught my eye-- So much so that I ended my internet search there.  From the looks of this list, I better be checking our smoke detectors weekly rather than monthly.  But in all seriousness, take care this holiday season! Here's a couple house fire facts to think about:
  • During the winter months, the potential for fires increase because of the use of Christmas trees, heating appliances such as the furnace, space heaters, and fireplaces as well as the increased use of lighting. -We obviously have the tree, but we also have lots of lights that are on for hours since the sun is down by 4:30
  • House fires in the U.S. that are started by candles are at a 20-year high-I would believe it if someone told me the same was true for Denmark.

  • Children playing with fire set over 100,000 fires annually and over 30% of those fires kill the children who started them.  This equates to over 800 children killed each year by the fires they set playing.-Remember the candle I caught as it was falling over--it was one of my small friends who accidentally bumped it.

  • Studies of electrical fires in homes show that many problems are associated with improper installation of electrical devices by do-it-yourselfers that do not comply with code requirements.-This one just makes me laugh. All the Danes install their own lights! (before Ed corrects my use of 'blanket statements', I am sure that some people here hire someone to install their light fixtures)  Ed installed 5 light fixtures in this very house.  Lights are considered part of the decor and are moved along with furniture, etc. when someone goes from one house to another.
  • Common errors that can lead to fires include the use of improperly rated devices such as switches or receptacles and loose connections at these devices.-We use plenty of transformers and adaptors here and I can think of at least 1 loose electrical socket plate. I am not even going to think about the flickering lights that were already in the house.  

1 comment:

  1. The mill looks cool :) But thinking of it it might be quite a fire hasard with all the wood. If the wings stops spinning they could light up as well I guess?

    Some Danish stats from 2007. On a normal winter week there are about 300 fires. In the last week of the year (and the one with Christmas Eve) has around 1300 in a week or more than 4 times as many.

    Some of the tips from that page:
    - Use candles that turn off by themselves
    - Dont put candles on a TV
    - Have at least one smoke detector in the house
    - In case of emergency the number to call in DK is 112