Chanukah: A Jump in House Fires

Israeli firefighters warn that extra caution must be exercised during Chanukah.

Elad Benari , | updated: 5:14 AM

Chanukah is upon us and while it is a time for joy, happiness and lots of lights, it can also be a dangerous holiday.

As many light their menorahs, extra caution must be exercised in order to prevent house fires, which are common occurrence during Chanukah. In fact, Israeli fire department spokesman Asaf Avres told the Associated Press on Wednesday that there is a jump of 10 to 15 per cent in house fires during the week of Chanukah.

Avres also listed the menorahs that children make in kindergarten as a potential fire threat, since those often topple over. Lighting a menorah too close to the drapes is also a concern this time of year.

In an attempt to avoid these types of incidents, the Israel Fire and Rescue Services have released safety guidelines for Chanukah. They are:

  • The menorah lighting shall be done only with adult supervision
  • Candles and lighters must be kept away from reach of children
  • Unsafe menorahs such as the ones made by children in kindergarten should not be used under any circumstances
  • A lit menorah must not be left unattended
  • A lit menorah should be kept far away from drapes, flammable materials, and pets
  • The menorah should be placed on a solid surface, away from furniture
  • Do not walk while holding burning candles

It is also highly recommended to keep fire extinguishers or buckets of water close at hand.

The Orthodox Union has also joined the efforts to fight fire tragedies that occur as a result of the Chanukah candle lighting, and has posted six fire prevention guides on its website, including Chanukah Burn and Scald Prevention tips, Torah Tots/Play it Safe for Chanukah, and Fire Safety for Jewish Observances, among others.