Festive Fires - Chanukah Hazards


More than half of all home fires start in the kitchen. During 2006/07, Fire and Rescue NSW attended 2,437 kitchen fires - or 56% of all residential fires.

Chanukah, like many Jewish holidays, is a special time for celebration and because of the increased fire hazards associated with this festival, the Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is offering some simple advice to prevent tragedy.

Preparing yourself this Chanukah will give you better chance of having a safe and happy holiday. FRNSW offers the following safety advice:

Menorah safety

  • Never leave your menorah unattended or go to bed before all the candles or oil has stopped burning. If it is electric turn it off before you go to bed or if you leave the house.
  • If using an electric menorah, inspect all wires and don’t use it if it appears damaged. Only use a menorah that meets Australian Standards (check packaging).
  • Do not place your menorah near curtains or decorations that may catch fire. Also keep them away from wind or fans that may blow them over.
  • Place your menorah on a level and solid surface.
  • Keep your menorah out of reach of children.
  • When lighting, keep your hands, hair and sleeves clear of the flame.

Kitchen safety

  • When frying, heat cooking oil carefully and slowly in the right size saucepan to avoid fat splatters. Turn saucepan handles away from the edge of the stove and try to use the back burners.
  • Install a fire extinguisher and fire blanket in the kitchen and know how to use them. They should be situated at least one metre away from the stove and between the stove and the nearest exit.
  • If cooking oil catches fire, turn off the hotplate and slide the lid over the pan or use a fire blanket to smother the fire. Never use water for oil fires. If you don’t feel confident you can put it out, switch off the appliance, leave the premises and call the Fire and Rescue NSW on Triple Zero (000) from a safe place.

It's the law

It is a legal requirement in NSW to have smoke alarm in every residential property where people sleep. Smoke alarms should be installed in the living area and in the hallway near bedrooms – Fire and Rescue NSW recommends the use of photoelectric smoke alarms, which are less prone to false alarms caused by cooking.

In an Emergency Call Triple Zero (000)

A collaboration of the Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT Fire Brigade and ACT Rural Fire Service