Wednesday, August 5, 2009
"Those old candles? I'll never use them, but I'm saving them for when we have a power failure."
When clients say this, I tell them: Consider other options. Listen to the National Candle Association: "Be very careful if using candles during a power outage. Flashlights and other battery-powered lights are safer sources of light."
And if the cause of the power outage is a disaster such as a hurricane or an earthquake, the warning is even more important. Listen to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Home fires are a threat after a natural disaster and fire trucks may have trouble getting to your home. If the power is out, use flashlights or other battery-powered lights if possible, instead of candles."
And if there's been an earthquake, be sure to heed this advice from the Red Cross: "Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to inspect your home. Kerosene lanterns, torches, candles, and matches may tip over or ignite flammables inside."
As someone with house cats, I know candles are an even bigger risk for me. After the last power outage, when I got tired of just using flashlights, I bought a small battery-powered lantern. And I may go buy some light sticks; the publication Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country recommends them along with flashlights.
If you must use candles, please be sure to use them with care.
[Photo by Jesse Gardner, found on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons]