Staten Island University Hospital is a regional burn center. Unfortunately it sees a large number of frum Jews being brought in on an emergency basis.
Please, it is Chanukah tonight, and to have a really frailechan Chanukah just give a thought ahead of time to the following:
Don't leave any burning candles unattended, particularly if there are younger children in the house. Kids have a fascination with flames, and it's a bad combination. If need be, place chairs, seats facing the menorahs, to block access to the lit menorahs. Don't place menorahs anywhere near any flammable substances, such as curtains or shades. Make sure all menorahs are placed on a steady surface. Even the flickering of one lit candle can cause enough motion to tip over an unsteady menorah. Place menorahs somewhere where people do not have to walk by them in close quarters. An item of clothing brushing up against a menorah can topple it or set clothing on fire. If you get oil on your fingers or hand while filling a menorah, be sure and wash your hands before kindling the lecht.
If,c'v, a fire should start on or around the menorah, do not use water to try and extinguish it. Hot oil will literally climb up a stream of water and burn the hand pouring the water. Extinguish oil fires by covering the fire completely with a non flammable item, such as a pot.
A little care and forethought and you can have a freilachen Chanukah that is also a safe one.
And for those newbies to frying latkes, don't leave a cooking pan of oil unattended on the stove and never ever cover a pan of hot oil.
As a volunteer firefighter (who is also single, btw), I have seen devestating fires that started from menorahs. If c"v there is a fire, please call 911 before trying to fight the fire. More often than not these fires spread very quickly and you will end up needing the Fire Deparment anyway. Please give them the head start by calling immediately (even if the fire looks small).
A Freilichen Chanuka to all.
Wish you had mentioned not leaving matches next to or near the menorahs. We found our two year old today with an open box of matches sucking on the ends. Game us a real scare, although everything is B"H okay.
Amazing post. Thanks for sharing.
Fire Protection Service in State Island
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