The Importance of Attending a Flame

A quick review to candle burning

In several cultures, believes and practices, burning a candle may have multiple denotations. During the Medieval times, candles were used to tell time by using wicks of determined dimensions. Ever since, from a mystical perception, candles denote and encode the closeness to Goddess and divine beings in several religions, whether, they are used as a protection or purifying tool during rituals. For some people, the way in which a candle extinguishes itself reveals hidden signs about your luck or future.

The truth is that behind a flame there is an important message that can be narrowed down to one word: safety. This is a warning that we should keep in mind, especially during December and the winter season, when in most parts of the world, including our Latin American region, the use of candles increases. Candles are an indispensable item to provide an ambience of warmth at home, and to use for the celebration of the holidays like Christmas and New Year’s.

According to the United States National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2009 and 2013, the fire fighters in that country reported about 9300 fires due to the unattended use of candles. (

The United States Fire Administration has serious statistics that should be considered:

  • On Average, each day there are about 32 reports of fires associated with candles in the USA.
  • More than half of the fire cases, to be precise 56% are provoked by the nearness of the candle to flammable materials like furniture, mattresses, curtains, etc.
  • In almost a fifth of the fire cases, the candles were unattended or abandoned.
  • Days like Christmas Eve, Christmas and New years are more likely to have fires caused by candles.


Let’s keep in mind that the incorrect ways of candle burning not only affect the homes of those who burn them but also the companies and the candle industry can be affected with severe consequences, mainly: human and material losses, civil responsibility and the loss or interruption of the business.

It is a fact that candle safety and preventing accidents depend merely of the consumer’s responsibility. Hence the recommendations on not leaving a candle unattended, keeping it away from kids, pets, waves of air and flammable materials. In addition to trimming the wick, using the correct candle holder or container, and to make sure the candle is completely off when there is smoke, or the flame is too big or in constant oscillation. Beyond these fire preventing actions for the candle consumers, at ALAFAVE we are aware of the responsibility that this implies for our manufacturers.

The American Society for Testing and Materials, today known as the ASTM International, has set a series of standards related to candle labeling (F15.45) glass containers, secondary ignition, flame size, stability and combustion.

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The candle manufacturers around the world should be aware that there are handy simple tests that allow us to improve a candle’s performance by measuring its propensity.

Measuring the sooting index released during the candle manufacturing process was a difficult task, but today, fortunately, it is completely viable thanks to the simple but precise and reliable equipment that provide ways to reproduce the results.

Our industry doesn’t stop evolving. Now a days, there is a software that allow us to measure the flame dimensions through the use of an algorithm (flame recognition algorithm) to attest the stability of combustion and record its performance. The most incredible part is that this innovating tool is now available as an application (App) for smart phones.

The measurements for sooting on candle burning have been incorporated in some regulations around the world. An example is the norm DIN EN 15426 in Europe which is looking forward to increase the quality and safety in the use of candles. This norm with binding character is officially recognized in several institutions, the norm also affects outside of the so called old continent, given that all manufactures looking to export their candles, in disregard of their origin, must abide to the norm and meet the requirements.

Evidence indicates that the measurements, controls, and standards to guarantee the major quality and protection on candles is giving good results. In the United States, the ASTM reported that at the beginning of this decade, 9000 reports on fires caused by candles represented the lowest level since 2001, in this year more than twice the number of fires were reported, about 19000, were indicated.

The ASTM attributes the decline for the most part to the application of standards and norms. Besides refining the education of the consumer, the norms endorse the performance and design of the product. Without a doubt a very positive trend that must expand to other regions of the world like Latin America.

When it comes to minimizing risks, improving quality and guaranteeing safety and excellence, ALAVE will always be present.

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