OU Issues Safety Warning as Sukkot Approaches

04 Oct 2011


As in the case of Shabbat and the Festivals when candles are lit, Sukkot calls for special attention to fire safety. On Sukkot, not only are candles lit in the Sukkah, electric lights and heaters may also be used under the proper halachic conditions. Based on guidelines from the Teaneck, NJ fire department, in consultation with FDNY and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the Orthodox Union has issued the following safety warnings for use in the Sukkah, as well as more general warnings for each time candles are lit. The guidelines are as follows:

• Candles:

More than 33 percent of candle fires occur when candles are left unattended. Half of the people killed by candle fires in the home are younger than 20 years of age, with most of the victims between the ages of five and nine. Burns and fires are the leading cause of death in the home for children and young adults.

Holiday time means candles, matches and fire. When burning candles, make your home safer by:

o Using sturdy candleholders, with flame-protective non-combustible (glass or metal) shades or globes;

o Placing candles at least four feet away from curtains, draperies, blinds, kitchen cabinets and bedding;

o Placing candles out of reach of small children and pets;

o Never leaving burning candles unattended;

o Securing hair and clothing, such as sleeves or aprons, from the flame when handling candles;

o Keeping candles, matches and lighters, including lit memorial containers out of reach of children;

o When lighting multiple Sabbath candles, families need to be aware of the high amount of heat the candles generate. Create a safe place in the house where multiple candles can be lit;

• Items in the Sukkah:

o Extension cords should be new and specifically designed to be used outdoors. Do not overload the wall circuit or the extension cord. Tape cords down so that no one trips over them;

o Heaters — be cautious about using them. Children and animals can tip them over easily;

o Electric lights — do not place high wattage lights next to shach or anything else flammable;

o Be careful about bringing hot food and beverages into and out of the Sukkah. It is easy to trip and be scalded.



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