An Important Chanukah Fire Safety Message from Woodmere Fire Commissioner Yisroel Max


Hanukkah is the festival of lights and in this case, lights equal fire. In the last decade, dozens of fires have broken out in homes as a result of candles being lit unsafely. Even one candle lit unsafely can cause a big fire. Oil fires from frying latkes and other foods are also a potential fire and burn safety hazard during the holiday of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah Safety Tips

Candle Lighting Safety Tips

Follow these Hanukkah Safety tips to prevent fires and keep you and your family safe:

Use a long tipped lighter to keep the flame away from your fingers.

Understand that most “arts and crafts” Hanukkah lamps made by children are not suitable for lighting and may burn down when used. They should be used for decorative purposes only.

Place the Hanukkah menorah on a sturdy surface made of non-flammable material such as marble, glass, or metal. You can also place aluminum foil on top of a hard surface. Do not risk one unstable candle falling onto a flammable surface.

Only place Hanukkah candles inside a menorah.

Set unlit candles securely in place. Only keep the “helper” candle out to light the other candles.

Do not place the menorah near or under any flammable materials like curtains or books.

Do not walk around while holding a lit candle.

Choose a safe location for your menorah: avoid spots where something could fall on it or it could be easily knocked over.

Keep matches and lit objects away from small children.

Keep your menorah safely out of reach of pets and small children.

Never leave the house with a lit menorah!

Fried Food Safety Tips

Eating oily, fried foods such as donuts, breaded chicken, and latkes is a Hanukkah tradition. 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.
Follow these Fried food safety tips to avoid a Hanukkah cooking accident:

Ensure that your fire alarms are in working order.

Never leave the kitchen while frying foods; 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.

Wishing you a safe and Freilichin Chanukah from our house to yours.

Yisroel “Sruli” Max became Fire Commissioner in the Woodmere Fire Department this past Tuesday. He expressed his thanks to the community for coming out and voting for him and wishes everyone a happy and safe Chanukah.




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