Rosh Hashanah Fire Safety

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The Lakewood Board of Fire Commissioners in conjunction with Fire Chief Mike D’Elia Jr., Fire Prevention Coordinator Jacob Woolf, and the members of the Lakewood Fire Department remind the community to be mindful of the following hazards to ensure a fire safe Holiday.

  • Self-Clean Ovens – Ovens should be pre-cleaned well before turning on the self-clean cycle. NEVER leave your home while the oven is self-cleaning.
  • Covering the Stove Top – NEVER cover any vents. Leave all vents open to allow heat to escape. Failure to do so may damage your oven and cause a fire.
  • Setting up the Stove Top – The Blech (metal stove top cover) should be positioned to allow heat to escape on all sides. Many people keep a burner on for the duration of the Holiday. Should you do so, it is preferable to choose a back burner. When not in use, it is a good idea to keep a pot of water over the lowered flame to serve as visual reminder. A safer method of cooking is to use an electric burner. These can be placed directly on your Blech and can be used with an appropriate U.L. approved heavy duty timer as well. You will avoid any potential carbon monoxide buildup and it will only be on when needed.
  • Cooking – When cooking, roll up your sleeves and avoid wearing loose fitting clothing that can easily catch fire. Do not reach over burners and other hot surfaces. Keep all flammable items (dishtowels, curtains, etc.) at least three feet from the range top. Always turn pot handles inward to prevent young children from pulling down a hot pan. Remain in the kitchen and keep an eye on the stove or oven. Unattended cooking remains a leading cause of home fires.
  • Frying – When frying, it is important to keep children away from the stove and other cooking elements. Use the back burners so they 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 to extinguish a grease fire as this will just increase the size of the fire. Do Not Hesitate to Immediately Call 911.
  • Appliances – Keep all appliances away from the edge of the counter and all wires safely out of reach, especially when children are around. Leave ample space around any appliances to allow air to circulate and minimize the buildup of heat. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR APPLIANCES ARE U.L. COMPLIANT AND THAT THEY ARE IN OPTIMAL CONDITION. An appropriate U.L. approved heavy duty timer may be used with hotplates, crock pots, etc. Speak to your Rav, before the Holiday, if you need further Halachic clarification on using timers.
  • Calling the Fire Department on the Holiday or Shabbos – NEVER hesitate to call the fire department even for the slightest suspicion of danger. What may appear to the uneducated to be “nothing” may, in fact, be deadly. Call your Rav for clarification, if you must, BEFORE the Holiday. Once a situation arises, it is too late to start debating Halacha.
  • PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE WORKING SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DECTECTORS IN YOUR HOME. At a minimum, smoke alarms should be located outside each separate sleeping area and on every floor of one’s home. Place a carbon monoxide detector outside eachsleeping area in the home.
  • Review, the principles of “STOP, DROP and ROLL” which are simple: STOP – do not run if your clothes catch on fire. DROP – to the ground and cover your face. ROLL – continue to roll to smother the fire.

Additional Fire Safety Information for parents, children and educators can be found by visiting the Fire District Website at and clicking on Sparky’s Firehouse or New Jersey Fire Safety under the Links heading.

The Lakewood Fire Department wishes all a Safe, Happy Year!