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The Festival of Lights is Upon Us!

Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2018

It’s time to take out the menorah and heat up the latke pan because Hanukkah has once again arrived.  In 2018, Hanukkah will begin on the evening of Sunday, December 2, and end on the evening of Monday, December 10. Hanukkah is aptly referred to as the “festival of lights,” a nickname intended to remind people of the miracle that occurred.

Observers of the Jewish faith light their menorahs for eight nights, traditionally in a space where people can see it burning, such as a window.  However, this holiday can quickly turn the festival of lights into the danger of flames.  In the last decade, dozens of fires have broken out in homes as a result of candles being lit unsafely and people can be badly burned. Another danger is the hot cooking oil used to fry traditional potato latkes and other fried treats. The oil can ignite and quickly cause a kitchen fire.

We want you have a happy Hanukkah. So, keep these safety tips in mind.

When Lighting the Menorah:

  • If you are lighting candles, never leave them unattended.
  • Place the menorah on a flat, fire-resistant surface away from drapes, curtains, and wood cabinets.
  • 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.
  • Consider using an electric menorah in a window to safely light your home for Hanukkah.

 

When Cooking Those Delicious Fried Treats:

  • When cooking with hot oil, use a splatter guard and oven mitts to protect your skin from oil burns.
  • 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”.
  • Keep your stove vent turned on while you are frying foods to help keep smoke from the oil at bay.
  • To extinguish an oil cooking fire, turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid. DO NOT douse an oil fire with water. It’s also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Always remember to keep pets away from those friends Hanukkah treats that can make them sick, especially fatty foods and onions and chocolate Hanukkah gelt.  Those are the coins used to play the traditional dreidel game.  Some pets will even try to eat the dreidel, so keep a close eye on it too.

Finally, with all these fire hazards, it’s a great time to include checking your smoke detectors and replace the batteries as part of your holiday preparations.