Fire safety tips for the menorah


November 30, 2018

(Kveller via JTA)—While Chanukah is a favorite on the Jewish calendar, there is no holiday as dangerous with its open flames, boiling oil and sharp graters for making latkes.

So we’ve compiled these helpful tips to help you minimize the risks and have a safe and bright Festival of Lights.

Menorah safety tips:

Don’t leave your menorahs unattended. Never leave a room where a menorah is lit. Either wait for the candles to go out, or put them out yourself if you need to leave the room or house.

Put your menorahs on a nonflammable surface. If you’re putting your menorah on a wooden window sill or any other wooden surface, make sure to lay down aluminum foil or another nonflammable material. An even better idea is to put your menorah on a stone or marble counter. Glass and metal surfaces also work.

Put your menorahs on a sturdy surface. Is your dining room table a bit wobbly? Don’t put your menorah there! Any piece of furniture with wheels is also a bad idea. Opt for a sturdy, safe surface.

Keep your menorahs away from pets. This might be easier said than done, especially with adventurous cats around, but it’s better not to put that menorah anywhere your pets are known to reach.

Keep your menorahs out of reach of little kids. It may be obvious, but make sure your menorahs are away from edges and are high enough.

Don’t walk around with a lit candle. No running with scissors, no walking with fire are some basic rules to live by. Keep your candles in a contained space.

Take precautions when letting children light the menorah.  Make sure they are standing on a sturdy surface, and are close enough and high enough to safely light it—a stable stool is good, so they can see what they’re doing. Have an adult present there for support and intervention.

Keep decorations, papers and fabrics away from your menorah. Put decorations far from where you’ll be lighting your menorah. If you’re putting your menorah by the window, make sure there’s no way for the flame to touch the curtains. Keep any papers (including paper towels) away from where the menorah is placed, and out of your hands when you’re lighting candles. And when you’re lighting candles, make sure they are far from your clothing and hair.

Don’t light your kid’s arts and crafts menorah unless you’re 100 percent sure they aren’t flammable. These handmade menorahs may be super cute, but they can also be fire hazards. Make sure to only light menorahs you are certain are nonflammable. Keep the ones you’re not sure about away from the lit menorahs, and instead consider using electric candles with them.

Frying safety tips:

Make sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors are working. This is pretty self-explanatory but easy to forget. Do this a week before the festivities to have peace of mind.

Never fill your pan with too much oil, and keep it from getting too hot. Being burned with splashing oil really, really stinks. Make sure your oil doesn’t get too hot. It’s a good idea to use an oil with a high burning point, like canola oil or olive oil.

Keep your pan and pot handles facing the inside of the stove. It’s a good way to keep them from getting knocked over. You DO NOT want that boiling pan falling on the floor.

Keep young children away from the stove. Total Family Care suggests creating “a 3-foot safety zone around the stove when the latkes are frying” or using “the further burners so children cannot reach the flames.”

Keep flammable materials away from the flames. Keep your hair and shirtsleeves pulled up and away from the flame. Make sure you keep paper towels away from the flames, too.

Never try to extinguish a fire with water, and keep water away from your frying pan. In case of a grease fire, turn off the stove and use a pot lid or a baking pan to extinguish a grease fire. If that doesn’t work, you can douse it with lots of baking soda.

Keep a good burn cream around and treat any burn right away. Accidents happen. If you do get burned, run your burn under cold water right away.

Dispose of your oil properly. Don’t throw that oil down the drain! It will clog your pipes. Instead, let it cool and put it in a closed container that you can throw away.

Lior Zaltzman is the social media editor for 70 Faces Media, Kveller’s parent company. She is also an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator.

Kveller is a thriving community of women and parents who convene online to share, celebrate and commiserate their experiences of raising kids through a Jewish lens. Visit


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