Tips for Preventing Fires this Hanukkah

Hanukkah starts this Saturday, December 8th, and for those of you who are not aware, one of the traditions of the Hanukkah celebration is the menorah. The menorah is a candelabra with nine branches that are lit during the eight-day Hanukkah holiday. It signifies a miracle: When the Jews found only enough pure olive oil to light the menorah for one day after a successful revolt centuries ago, the supply miraculously lasted eight days. Jews today celebrate Hanukkah in a variety of ways, one important way being the lighting of the menorah (or, in some Orange County homes, several menorahs) and displaying them in a prominent window.

In addition to the menorah, another Hanukkah tradition is making latkes, pancakes made of potato and onion and fried in oil—another celebration of a small amount of oil keeping a long-lasting flame. And even as careful as you can be, most house fires are started in the kitchen, which means that you should be extra vigilant when using hot oil for cooking.

With candles burning nightly plus hot oil or grease, there’s bound to be some fire-related accidents. Please review this handy list of safety tips to practice during the Hanukkah celebration to keep your family safe and sound. Don’t ruin the holiday by accidentally burning your house down!

  1. Test the smoke detectors in your house and change the batteries if needed.
  2. Buy a fire extinguisher (check existing ones to be sure they are fully charged and operational) and keep it handy.
  3. Place the menorah on a non-flammable, solid and level surface.
  4. Make sure all candles are secure in their holders.
  5. Keep all flammable materials, including drapes, blinds, decorations and plants, away from the menorah.
  6. Before lighting your menorah, make sure that it is meant to be lit and not for decorative purposes only.
  7. Electric menorahs should not be used if wiring insulation is frayed or broken.
  8. Never, and we mean NEVER, leave a lit menorah unattended.
  9. When cooking latkes, keep children away from the hot oil.
  10. Keep frying pans on the back burners of the stove, and keep the handle of the pan(s) away from the edge so children cannot reach it.
  11. If cooking oil catches fire, turn off the gas or electric range and cover the pan with its lid—if you can do so at no risk to yourself. Otherwise, use a fire extinguisher appropriate for grease fires.
  12. NEVER throw water or a wet towel on an oil fire, as that will cause the hot oil to splatter on you or ignite something nearby.

Please have a happy and safe Hanukkah celebration! If you do have an accident in your Orange County kitchen or with your menorah, please call us immediately after you call the emergency services.

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