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If you celebrate Hanukkah, play it safe when it comes to lighting your menorah. Each night, place a nonflammable surface such as aluminum foil sheets underneath your menorah before you begin.
Even if the candles of your menorah feel secure in their holders, you don't want to risk that a lit one will fall and roll onto a flammable surface, sparking a large fire that can claim lives and cause significant property damage. Short of a fire, you also don't want your furniture's surfaces getting stained by hot wax that may drip from candles as they burn.
Hanukkah celebrants who don't take this precaution create a serious fire risk in their home, sometimes leading to disastrous results. For example, a single candle in a menorah at a rabbi's house in Chester, New York led to a devastating fire in 2008 that consumed the house.
Fire Chief Reminds Residents of Home Heating Safety
As a result of colder temperatures and smaller budgets, many residents are looking for less expensive ways of staying warm. The winter months are the deadliest time of the year for the fire service. The Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Department is urging area residents to use the following safety precautions when heating their homes.
Gas or Electric Furnaces: Make sure that your furnace receives annual professional inspection and maintenance to ensure that it is operating effectively.
Portable Heaters: While we strongly discourage the use of portable heaters, if you do use them, always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions. If you purchase a portable heater, make sure that it is UL approved, or approved by another independent testing laboratory.
Fireplace and Wood Stoves:The chimney and connectors should be inspected annually and cleaned regularly. Open the flue during use and have a screen and non-flammable floor around the space.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors:If you have any fuel burning appliances in your home you need a carbon monoxide detector. Fuel burning appliances include: gas stove, gas or wood fire place, gas hot water heater, gas dyer or any other appliance that is not powered by battery or electricity. All homes with attached garages should have a carbon monoxide detector.
Smoke Alarms: Smoke alarms are the most important piece of life safety equipment a family can have in their home. A working smoke alarm increases your chance of surviving a fire by 50 percent. Smoke alarms should be placed on the ceiling or on the wall 6 to 8 inches from the ceiling. For the minimum protection provide at least one smoke alarm on each level outside of sleeping area. For maximum protection install smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside of all sleeping areas and at least one on each level of the home. Test smoke alarms monthly. Replace batteries annually. Replace the smoke alarm every ten years or sooner if it does not pass the annual test.
For more information about home heating and home fire safety, including a safety checklist, please contact our Prevention Division at 785-830-7003.