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Four Holiday Candle Safety Tips

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

Candles are an important symbol in worship for United Methodists, especially during the Advent and holiday season. However, these symbols have the potential to cause major damage to your ministry's facilities when mismanaged or mishandled. You can help ensure your members take the light of the world with them and decrease the opportunities for tragedy with simple precautions.

Use artificial candles to minimize risks. 

The best way to protect your facilities and members from a fire hazard relating to candles is to use artificial candles. Battery-powered and or flameless candles significantly reduce the opportunity for fires while providing an authentic feel. Though some of the symbolism of a live burning flame may be lost, the added peace of mind for your staff could be priceless.

Place candles in low traffic areas.

Be conscious of the amount of potential activity around a candle. High traffic areas present a significant risk for candles to be bumped or toppled over, which could cause damage or personal injury. Make sure your candles are placed on heat-resistant platforms and that combustible materials/liquids are kept clear of any open flame. This includes Christmas trees and decorations.

Monitor the candle and flames while in use. 

Live flames should never be left unattended. Your ministry should identify individuals to keep an eye on the candles to ensure they are burning properly and functioning appropriately. Open flames must be monitored at all times and be put out before leaving the room and facility. Also, candles shouldn’t be left burning for more than 4 hours at a time.

Prepare for a fire safety emergency (Fire Safety Tips)

Check to make sure your facility's fire safety system and equipment are up-to-date and appropriately stored. Properly record all equipment and inventory checks. Connecting with your local fire department can help you make sure your church is properly resourced for a fire emergency. A fire extinguisher should be close to any open flame candle. Ministry, event, and worship leaders should be made aware of the potential risk of any fire risks and have emergency plans ready to execute if necessary. A list of important contacts should also be made available in the case of an emergency.

For additional safety tips, visit the National Fire Protection Association's website and search “candle safety.”

When you are covered by UMIP, we will be there when you need us. Churches have unique needs. As a part of the denomination, we understand the unique needs of United Methodist churches and their operations, which is reflected in our coverage options. Your ministry deserves outstanding insurance and UMIP works for you each day to help protect your church’s people, property, and finances.

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This content has been prepared by United Methodist Insurance Company (UMI) for informational purposes only. No article or document may accurately contemplate all possible scenarios or church resources. As such, this information is meant to foster discussion by the individual church and its members to develop a plan tailored to its own circumstances. UMI is providing this information with no warranties or guarantees of any kind and it should not be viewed as legal, financial, or other professional advice. All liability is expressly disclaimed. Any claim examples described herein are general in nature, may or may not be based on actual claims, and are for informational purposes only. Any coverage available for a claim is determined from the facts and circumstances of the claim as well as the terms and conditions of any applicable policy, including any exclusions or deductibles. In the event of a conflict with the content herein, the terms and conditions of any issued policy will control. Individual coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.

The commercial insurance coverages for United Methodist Insurance are sold and serviced directly or indirectly by Sovereign Insurance Agency (CA Lic. No. 0B01380) ("Sovereign") and underwritten by various available insurance markets. Sovereign pays United Methodist Insurance a royalty for the use of its intellectual property.


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