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Video: Don't Let Your Menorah Candles or Christmas Tree Burn Your House Down, Okay?

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Yes, it's that time of year again. Second only in holiday-themed horror to safety footage of Halloween costumes bursting into flames comes the perils of dangerous merry-making, like menorah candles next to the curtains and a Christmas tree that never gets watered.

The Los Angeles Fire Department sent out a warning this week about safe candle use, warning that "[c]andles cause 4% of all home fires in our country and an alarming 6% of home fire deaths. More than one-third of home candle fires start in bedrooms, where 44% of candle associated deaths and half of associated injuries occur."

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They've given these tips for candle use during the holidays:


For those observing Chanukah: # Place the Menorah in a safe, secure, and well watched area.
# Never place a lit Menorah near curtains, shades, tablecloths, plants, books, or under counters.
# Do not put the Menorah on an unsteady table or surface.
# Avoid leaving the Menorah unattended when burning.
# Do not have open flame if medical oxygen is being used in the home.
# Make sure any oil used for the Menorah is stored in a stable holder, well removed from the flame or heat source.
# Adult supervision is essential when children light the Menorah.
# Assure that infants, toddlers and pets are unable to reach or access the Menorah.
# Store matches and lighters up high and out of children's sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

For other uses, the Los Angeles Fire Department suggests safer alternatives to candles. If candles must be used:

* Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep.
* Keep candles at least 12" away from any flammable items, including areas cluttered with holiday decorations - and especially distant from children and pets.
* Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
* Use sturdy non-combustible candle holders that won't tip over easily and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
* Don't place lit candles in or near windows, blinds and curtains.
* No one should sleep in a room with a lit candle.
* Store candles, matches and lighters up high and out of children's sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.
* Never use a candle if medical oxygen is used in the home.
* Don't use a lit candle when searching for items in a confined space or checking pilot lights or fueling equipment.
* Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles for emergency lighting.
* And finally, please consider gifts other than candles this holiday season!

In all seriousness, don't be a dummy when it comes to holiday decorations. Things can go from decked halls to swallowed in flames in moments, and that is not the kind of holiday fun any of us have in mind.