Download the PDF file: Candles

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.

For further advice:


Phone: (08) 8204 3611

Country Callers: 1300 737 637

Want to know more about getting out safely from your home in an emergency?

Look at our Home Fire Escape Plan fact sheet