Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are offering fire safety tips to communities as they prepare to celebrate Chanukah this December.
The festival lasts for eight days and begins on Saturday 8 December. The celebrations, also known in the Jewish faith as the Festival of Lights sees an increase in the use of candles in homes. A candle is lit on the hanukkiyah or menorah on each of the eight days. One candle is lit the first night, two the second, and so on, until the final night when all the candles are lit. Each of the eight candles is lit with a “helper” candle known as the shamash. The shamash is lit first, and is used to light the other candles, and then is returned to the ninth candle spot, which is set apart from the others.
Cumbria’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Adrian Buckle said: “Because a number of candles are used during Chanukah they tend to pose more of a fire risk in people’s homes. By taking a few simple precautions you can greatly reduce the risks for yourself and your family.
Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service want everyone to enjoy the celebrations but we would like to offer some tips and guidance to enhance your safety.”
- When cooking take extra care if you need to leave the kitchen, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk. Turn them off completely if you are leaving your home.
- Make sure saucepan handles do not stick out to avoid them being knocked over.
- Take care if you are wearing loose clothing as they can easily catch fire. Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
- Spark devices are safer than matches or lighters to light gas cookers as they don’t have naked flame. Always double check that your hob/cooker is turned off when you have finished cooking.
- Take extra care if cooking with hot oil e.g. when cooking latkes – it sets alight easily. Make sure food is dry before putting it in the hot oil to avoid splashes. If the oil starts to smoke it is too hot, turn off the heat and leave to cool. If deep fat frying, use a thermostat controlled deep fat fryer, they can not overheat.
- If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks. Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so. Never throw water over it. Don’t tackle the fire yourself. Get Out, Stay Out and call 999
Candles and Decorations:
- Make sure that any decorations are kept away from any heat sources or naked flames, such as candles, light bulbs, fire places etc.
- Make sure candles are secured in a sturdy, fire retardant menorah and away from materials which may catch fire – like curtains. Keep Shabbat, Yom Tov, Chanukah, and Yahrzeit candles out of the reach of small children. Children should never be left alone with candles.
- Put candles out when you leave the room and make sure they are put out completely at night. Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles. This is safer than blowing them out since sparks can fly.
- When lighting and blessing candles ensure sleeves, long hair and hair coverings are kept away from naked flames.
- When lighting multiple Chanukah candles, families need to be aware of the high amount of heat the candles generate. Create a safe place in the house in which multiple candles can be lit.
- Make sure an electrical appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it. Try and use one plug per socket – do not overload. Always check you use the correct fuse to prevent overheating. Unplug appliances when you are not using them or when you go to bed.
To keep you safe this Chanukah Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service can carry out a FREE Home Safety Visit. We will check your smoke detectors and where necessary fit a new smoke detector with a 10 year battery FREE OF CHARGE. We will also provide an escape plan for your home. To arrange a visit please call for an appointment: 0800 3584777