Little competes with the beauty that radiates from the dancing flames of the Hanukkah lights. It is a joyous time and let’s try to keep it that way. We can avoid the fires that result from candles being lit in an unsafe manner by noting several factors. Following these safety instructions can prevent a disaster.
No matter how beautiful your child’s or grandchild’s “arts and crafts” menorah may be, please do not use it. These menorahs are not suitable for lighting and may burn down when used.
- Be sure to place the menorah on a sturdy surface made of noninflammable metal such as marble, glass or metal. Also make sure that the location is secure so the menorah cannot be knocked down or over by a door opening, someone passing by or something can fall on it. Also make sure pets cannot reach the menorah.
- Place the Hanukkah candles or holders for oil only inside the menorah which should be made of nonflammable material only.
- Never place the menorah near or under flammable material such as papers, curtains or books.
- Do not walk around while holding a lit candle.
- KEEP MATCHES, OIL AND LIT OBJECTS AWAY FROM CHILDREN AND OUT OF REACH.
- Never leave a lit menorah unattended.
- Supervise any child that lights a menorah. Place their menorah closer to the child so they should not reach over another menorah.
Let’s speak about food. No, this is not a mussar schmooze about health and calories.
- When frying, keep children away from the stove. Some people create a “3-foot” safety zone around the stove when the latkes are frying. Others use the further burners so children cannot reach the flames. Oil tends to splatter.
- In the event of a large grease flame or grease fire, do not use water to put it out! Smother the flames with damp towels.
If, G-d forbid, someone gets burned, what should you do?
- Immediately move them away from the flames and heat source.
- If the clothes catch fire, roll them on the ground and smother out the flames with a blanket or towel.
- Do not pull off the clothing that has stuck to the injured skin: Instead, cut the clothing around the injured area.
- Pour tepid water on the injury for at least 5 minutes. Never use cold water or creams.
- Call Hatzolah or 911 immediately.
This is a good time to make a commercial for carbon monoxide detectors. Twice a year when we change the clocks we should change the battery for the carbon monoxide detector in our homes. A New York City firefighter recently suggested that all frum homes which leave on an oven and blech for Shabbos should also leave a kitchen window slightly open for the fumes to escape. Since our homes are now better insulated than previously, there might be increased carbon dioxide fumes because of the oven and blech. This is a silent and dangerous toxin.
An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure. Let’s make this Hanukkah a win-win for all with the highest standards of safety.
A Freilichen and Safe Hanukkah to All
Thank you to the following websites for safety information: