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Remember: A candle is an open flame. It can easily ignite any combustible items nearby.

Candles, lamps or similar account for over 40 preventable fire deaths in Australian homes each year*. 

The South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) offers the following tips for the safe use of candles:

  • Candles should only ever be used by adults.
  • Make sure candles are placed in sturdy holders that will not tip over and place on a secure piece of heat-resistant furniture. Candle holders must be made of material that cannot burn.
  • Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep.
  • Keep the immediate area around a candle clear of all items. They should be kept well away from items that can catch fire, such as clothing, books, paper, curtains, Christmas trees and flammable decorations etc.
  • Do not place lit candles in windows, where blinds or curtains may come into contact with the flame.
  • Any air movement (draughts) past a candle can cause the candle wax to melt unevenly. The candle may then become unstable and fall over. 
  • Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids and items such as medical oxygen or jerry cans containing fuel.
  • Do not use candles in places where they can be knocked over by children or pets.
  • Battery operated candles are a good and safe alternative to traditional candles.

Where Young Children are Present:

  • Keep candles up high, out of reach of children.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a room with a lit candle. A child should not sleep in a room with a lit candle.
  • Keep all matches and lighters up high, out of the sight and reach of children, and preferably in a locked cabinet.

During Power Outages:

  • Torches, flashlights and other lights powered by batteries are much safer light sources than candles.
  • Wind up torches are a good alternative, as they do not need batteries.
  • Try to avoid carrying a lit candle.
  • Do not use a candle to go into confined spaces like a walk-in robe.
  • Never use a candle for light when fuelling equipment, such as a kerosene heater or lantern as the flame may ignite the fumes.

Incense Sticks:

  • Use sturdy heat resistant incense stick trays to ensure that falling ash does not come into contact with combustible items.
  • Keep burning incense sticks out of draughts and away from curtains and blinds.
  • Do not leave incense sticks burning when you are asleep or out of the house.
  • Keep burning incense sticks away from children and pets.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach and out of sight of children.

Combine the above safety tips with the installation of well-maintained, photo-electric smoke alarms in your home that are less than 10 years old. Consider having all your smoke alarms interconnected.

* Preventable Residential Fire Fatalities: July 2003 to June 2017.

Download a PDF English version of this Home Fire Safety Fact Sheet  (PDF 396KB)

For further advice ring the Community Safety Department 8204 3611

Country callers 1300 737 637


or call in to 99 Wakefield Street, Adelaide during business hours.