Do you have candles on hand in case the lights go out? You may want to rethink that. Did you know that a startling number of accidental fires are started by candles?
My DestinySurvival Radio guest was Kevin Dawson, creator of Kevin’s Kandles, a truly safer candle for emergencies. They provide you with a clever fire safety solution. Once you’ve heard Kevin talk about them, you’ll never see emergency candles in quite the same way.
Before I go on, allow a brief disclaimer. Other than receiving samples of Kevin’s Kandles to try, I don’t earn anything from promoting them. But this is one of those innovative products that could truly save lives and property, so I’m glad for the opportunity to share what follows with you.
The Kandle Kreator
Hey, if Kevin Dawson can misspell candles for branding purposes, I can misspell creator, just this once. And maybe another word or two as well.
But who is Kevin Dawson anyway? Here’s a little info.
“Kevin is semi-retired from the fire service after 32+ years in Westmount and Montreal, Canada. He also served an appointment for the United Nations as the Fire Marshall for UNMIL in Liberia, Africa, in 2007 and 2008. As a member of the Fire Service for most of his life, he has a passion for fire safety and fire prevention.”
You’ll notice that passion when you listen to our conversation. He’s (Dare I say it?) fired up about his subject matter. It’s his desire for fire safety and prevention that drives his candle endeavors.
The Kase for Kevin’s Kandles
If you can do it, have flashlights, especially LED lights, and fresh batteries on hand for those emergencies when power is out. But you know how things go. You might have flashlights all over the house, but how many work when you need them? As Kevin notes, we will have power failures, and people will use candles.
Candles sound like a great solution, and they’re the first thing many of us turn to in the dark; but as many as 10,000-15,000+ accidental candle fires are reported in the U.S.A. each year. In North America, 3-4% of residential fires are candle related.
A majority of the deaths and injuries occur during power failures and in houses where the electricity has been disconnected. Kevin says, in his iexperience as a fire investigator, half the fires started by candles were caused by tea candles.
Kevin’s Kandles are designed to greatly reduce the risk of accidental fires. If a Kevin’s Kandle is left unattended, it will go out. So no worries if you fall asleep while it’s burning. In fact, even if it’s tipped over, it will go out. That may seem hard to believe, but watch the demonstration video below to see for yourself.
One Kandle to Rule Them All
Here’s how they work. Begin with a clear glass half full of water. Pour in half an inch of vegetable oil. Insert a wick into the center of a round, plastic, Kevin’s Kandles float. Place the float into the glass and light the wick.
Kevin says his candles help eliminate the “Stupid Factor” when people run out of batteries during extended power failures and “get creative” with their illumination. That’s because Kevin’s Kandles are Safer than traditional candles. They’re also inexpensive and environmentally friendly.
Since these candles are great for providing emergency light during storms or other times when power is out for hours or days, they would have come in quite handy during and after Hurricane Sandy.
The Kandle on Trial
Watch the short demonstration video below, then I’ll share my experience with Kevin’s Kandles as well as a few thoughts Kevin passed along in our conversation.
A package of Kevin’s Kandles contains 5 plastic floats and 100 wicks in a ziplock bag. That’s enough to get a family through as many as 20 power outages, if you use all five floats for burning candles around the house.
Complete instructions are on the inside of the cardboard labeling stapled to the bag. I’d suggest keeping these directions with the bag, since you may not be using these that often, if you only use them for emergencies. However, Kevin’s right when he says you’ll remember how to use the candles once you’ve burned one.
But then I’m the kind of guy who keeps manuals for everything.
The whole package is small enough to fit into a shirt pocket. Therefore, they’re much easier to store than regular candles because they take up so little room.
I love the fact that the wicks and floats are in a resealable bag. It’s easy to keep everything together. The floats are reusable, so the only thing to throw away is the wick when it has done its job.
Our Test and Impressions
My wife thought these were similar to the float candles she’s seen at the Dollar Store. She’s seen them used at weddings. But Kevin says his candles aren’t the same thing because they’re not wax candles. His will each last 10 hours, not 2-4 hours. His are much cheaper, too.
My wife thought the wicks were a bit difficult to insert into the float because they’re small. The indention in the float isn’t very large either. I expect assembly would be easier the more it’s done. Kevin told me the wicks are the size they are because it has to do with compliance with certain safety standards.
We put our candle into a white glass bowl. (Sorry for not having a picture of it to show you here.) While there was some reflection from the sides of the bowl, Kevin recommends a clear glass because the illumination will be better. There’s more of a lantern effect, rather than that of a torch facing upward.
We experimented and found that if you blow the flame out, it can be lit again. We tried this a little while after we lit it initially. Then we let it burn five hours that evening. We left the bowl out out overnight, hoping our curious cats wouldn’t discover it. They didn’t.
We relit the wick the next morning. It was hard to light because it was so small. After a couple hours (about six or seven hours into the expected 10 hours), the flame wasn’t as bright.
According to Kevin, we should have taken the float and wick out of the bowl to keep the wick from getting saturated. If we would have done so, we would have experienced a bright flame until the end. Or, if we’d have let it burn uninterrupted, the flame wouldn’t have dimmed.
The flame burned itself out after a little more than the anticipated 10 hours total burn time. The float was still in good shape, ready for reuse. Furthermore, the floats won’t melt.
Why are these so environmentally friendly? Floats are reusable. Wicks are made from cotton. No wax is involved. Water and vegetable oil are all that’s necessary to use Kevin’s Kandles.
The Oil You say
OK, the K-thing with the headings in this post could only go on so long. Maybe I’m just not klever (Er, I mean clever.) enough to make up more. So I’ll kwit while I’m ahead.
Now, back to more enlightening info on the subject at hand.
Any kind of vegetable oil can be used for Kevin’s Kandles, including olive oil, though it’s more expensive. Even used oil, such as from restaurants, can be put to use.
One key advantage of using vegetable oil is that it’s something most of us replentish as we use it. So it’s not as if it’s a peculiar item we have to scrounge for.
Here’s another advantage. The oil won’t burn, even if you tip one of these candles over.
Kevin gave me a lesson in flamable vs. combustable fluids. Vegetable oil that has not been heated for cooking is combustable, not flamable. Both of those terms sound rather ominous, but just remember that the vegetable oil used for Kevin’s Kandles won’t start a fire.
Just Another Pretty Candle?
Would you believe restaurants are using Kevin’s Kandles? Though Kevin primarily wants to let you and me know about their uses for emergencies, you could use them for other purposes, too. Go decorative with colored water. Or make it a scented candle with a few drops of your favorite essential oil in the water.
There’s plenty of room for creativity. Again, think of the possibilities for introducing family and friends to a preparedness item.
Cheaper by the Dozens
Retail price of a package of Kevin’s Kandles is about $10. If that sounds costly at first, think of all you’re getting–100 wicks and five reusable floats. That’s about 10 cents per wick.
And when you figure in everything else, including vegetable oil, your cost is roughly 25 cents per candle. Where can you buy a 10 hour emergency candle for anywhere near that price:?
The fact is, you might not ever need more than one package of these for yourself. That’s not good for repeat sales of Kevin’s Kandles, but you could always buy some to have a second or third package on hand for your bug out location. Or you might consider geting a few packages to give as gifts.
Incidentally, Kevin doesn’t want to be a candle retailer. He wants to get the word out about these candles and get product recognition. He’d love to have a celebrity like Oprah promote his candles. And as already noted above, he wants to contribute to greater fire safety and prevention.
Kevin and I talked about fund raising campaigns for fire departments and sports teams. These candles would also be great if you wanted to do a fund raiser for a school, church, or scouts. Perhaps you’d want to tell your local Red Cross or CERT group about Kevin’s Kandles. What a way to introduce people to fire safety and preparedness at the same time.
One other important point. Kevin was deliberate in his decision to have his candles manufactured in the U.S. No child labor is involved.
To Africa, and Beyond…
It was Kevin’s time as a fire chief for the U.N. in Liberia which heightened his awareness of the need for his candles in that part of the world as well as other lesser developed countries. Hundreds of shack fires can occur in a month in just one place like Cape Town, South Africa.
Plenty of places throughout the world don’t have electricity. In Africa, six hundred million people don’t have it. Kevin’s Kandles could provide a safe, inexpensive means of lighting. And they don’t give off particulate matter like wax candles. Therefore, they won’t aggravate breathing problems such as asthma.
We talked about how you can buy Kevin’s Kandles in larger quantities as well as an inexpensive way to ship hundreds of packages without paying high shipping costs. If you know of a charitable group or church that would be interested in helping distribute Kevin’s Kandles to far flund places in need, get in touch with Kevin.
I realize I’ve shared plenty here, but to get more info, you really do need to hear my enlightening conversation with Kevin Dawson when you listen to DestinySurvival Radio for February 12, 2015. (Right click to download.) Kevin’s Web site is http://www.asafercandle.com/.