LAKEWOOD – The holidays are upon us and you know what that means…cooking for the family! With the Pesach “Passover” and Easter season right around the corner, the Lakewood Board of Fire Commissioners and the Lakewood Fire Department are reminding everyone to be mindful of fire safety hazards in the kitchen.
Ovens: self-clean ovens should be pre-cleaned before turning on the self-cleaning function. Make sure to never leave your home unattended when self-cleaning the oven.
Stove tops: Leave all vents open to allow heat to escape or else you could damage your oven and cause a fire. The Blech (metal stove top cover) should be positioned to allow heat to escape on all sides. Should you choose to keep your burner on during the holiday, choose a back burner.
When not in use, keep a pot of water over a lowered flame on the stove top to serve as visual reminder.
Fire officials also recommend electric burners as the safer method of cooking. These can be placed directly on your Blech to be used only when needed and will help you to avoid any potential carbon monoxide buildup.
Cooking: Make sure to roll up your sleeves and avoid wearing loose fitting clothing that can easily catch fire. Do not reach over burners or hot surfaces. Keep all flammable items at least 3 feet from the range top. Always turn pot handles inward to prevent young children from pulling down a hot pan. Don’t leave the kitchen; unattended cooking remains a leading cause of home fires.
Frying: Remember to keep children away from the stove when frying and use the back burners which are out of the reach of children. When reheating fried foods, be careful of the oil that is in the food as it reheats, since it can cause severe burns.
In the event of a grease fire, smother the flames with a lid only if it is possible. Do NOT use water! Using water will just increase the size of the fire.
Appliances: Keep all appliances away from the edge of the counter and all wires safely out of reach from children. Leave ample space around any appliances to allow air to circulate and minimize the buildup of heat. All appliances should be UL compliant and in good condition. An appropriate UL approved heavy duty timer may be used with hotplates, crock pots, etc. Speak to your Rav, before Pesach, if you need further Halachic clarification on using timers.
Yahrtzeit Candles (Memorial Candles): Place these in safe stable holders and on sturdy nonflammable surfaces, at least three feet away from flammable materials and in a location where they cannot be knocked over or something can fall on top of them. Do not leave children unattended in a room with lit candles, and do not display lighted candles in windows or near exits in case you need these to escape. Never leave burning candles unattended and keep matches, lighters and lit objects away from children.
B’Dikas Chometz (Search for the Bread): Be mindful of the candle flame as you are searching! Keep away from curtains, sofas, clothing, etc. Make sure the candle is completely extinguished before placing it aside. According to many Poskim (Halachic Authorities) a flashlight or the room’s ceiling fixture may be used. It’s safer to use a flashlight to search in those smaller, tighter areas.
Biur Chometz (Burning of the Bread): Only use a pre-designated and authorized Biur Chometz site which will be available from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. This year’s sites include:
- Patrick Park, 1000 Vine Street
- Frank Bartolf Park, Brook Road
- Khal Zichron Yaakov, 175 Sunset Road
- BMG, 7th St. & Private Way
- BMG, 10th St. & Clifton Ave
- D’Zio Park, Locust Ave
- BlueClaws Parking Lot
- Pine Park
And of course, do not hesitate to call the fire department for even the slightest suspicion of danger. Fire officials emphasize that what may appear to be “nothing” may, in fact, be deadly.
All houses should have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke alarms should be located outside each separate sleeping area and on every floor of the home. Place a carbon monoxide detector outside each sleeping area in the home.