The holiday of Hanukkah is imminent, commencing on the 25th day of Kislev which this year commences Tuesday Evening, December 12th.
Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” Hanukkah is one of the better known Jewish holidays.
We light the menorah each night, adding on one candle per night until the menorah is ablaze on the eighth night with eight candles, in addition to the Shamash. It’s a happy time and I wish to make it even happier for you by assuring the safety of you and your loved ones as in recent years, dozens of fires have broken out in residential areas as a result of candles being lit in an unsafe manner.
Hence, we want our families and friends to enjoy the holiday and with safety in mind.
Please note the following safety points (you might prefer to print out this article as a reminder)
- Yes, our children and grandchildren make the most beautiful homemademenorahs. Alas, they are for show-and-tell and decorative purposes only as most of them are flammable
- Place the Hanukkiah on a sturdy surface made of nonflammable material such as marble, glass or metal. Second choice: Place aluminum foil on smooth surface and then the menorah on it
- Place the Hanukkah candles ONLY inside the menorah made of nonflammable material
- Never place the menorah near or under any flammable material such as curtains or books
- Stay stationary while holding a lit candle
- Do not place the Hanukkah lamp in a location where it can be knocked over – (a passing person or wind, or where something can fall on it)
- Keep matches and lit objects away from children
- Make sure your pet cannot reach the Hanukkiah
- Never leave a lit menorah unattended!
- Keep all oil out of reach of children
- Use a long tipped lighter to keep the flame away from your fingers
- Never leave the house with a lit menorah
Hanukkah also means oily, fried foods such as latkes, fried chicken and donuts. If you make these foods at home, you will be dealing with oil that can reach up to 400 degrees which can be a fire or burn safety hazard. Please follow these safety tips to avoid a Hanukkah cooking accident:
- Ensure that your fire alarms are in working order.
- Never leave the kitchen while frying foods and always keep a close eye on the pans or fryer.
- Keep water away from the cooking area as even a small splash combined with oil can create very hot steam.
- Use vegetable, canola, corn, grape seed, safflower, or sunflower oil as they have a high “smoke point”.
- Do not pour huge amounts of oil in your frying pan-it is not necessary to make a delicious latke and is a fire safety hazard.
- Do not “overcrowd” the food in the oil.
- Flip latkes carefully with a slotted spatula or pancake flipper to avoid oil splashing.
- Use metal cooking tongs to flips chicken or donuts to keep your hands from touching the oil.
- Keep your stove vent turned on while you are frying foods to help keep smoke from the oil at bay.
- Place cooked food onto a paper-towel on a plate to soak up oil.
- If you are keeping cooked food warm in the oven, remove from paper towel and keep the temperature low at below 200 degrees and be careful not to drip oil into the oven from the plate.
G-d forbid, if one gets burned, the following is protocol: DROP AND ROLL.
This means do NOT remove clothing while it’s in flames. The person should DROP to the floor and ROLL until flames are extinguished.
Place person in cold water bath and remove all clothing. Assess severity of burns, realizing a child’s percentage area is greater than that of an adult. All burns to the groin and face and mucous membranes are more significant and will need urgent attention. Minor areas without blistering – cut up an onion (white or red) and smear over burnt area. DO NOT POP large blisters. Sylvadene can be applied to large areas EXCEPT the face.
Call your physician and Hatzoloh to be evaluated. Please be safe and enjoy the preparations for the upcoming holiday.