Purim is a joyous occasion and should be enjoyed as such. In order to celebrate in a happy and safe manner, the Lakewood Board of Fire Commissioners in conjunction with Fire Chief Jonathan Yahr, and the members of the Lakewood Fire Department, offer the following tips.
PURIM ‘FUN’ and ACTIVITIES: Parents should be especially mindful of and know the whereabouts and activities of their children at all times. Parents, teachers, and other role models should warn children against playing with matches, lighters, and fireworks. Care should be taken to keep children away from fire and other heat sources.
FIREWORKS: Much has been said about the illegality and obvious danger associated with aerial fireworks and without exception, these should absolutely be off limits! For people who decide to buy and use non-aerial fireworks, the Lakewood Fire Department provides the following safety guidelines
Small, Non-Aerial Fireworks Safety Guidelines
Small, Non-Aerial Fireworks Safe Disposal
CAP GUNS and ROLL CAPS: We have been made aware of serious Purim injuries caused by roll caps igniting in pants pockets. In these situations, rolls of caps were placed into pantspockets and when the child placed their hand into their pocket the caps rubbed together, ignited, and caused significant burns to the hand and leg. Do not allow your child to store rolls of caps in their pocket. However, and even better, AVOID providing these items to your children altogether, especially since a cap gun may be mistaken for a real weapon and result in disastrous consequences.
FLAMMABLE COSTUMES: When purchasing costumes, masks, beards and wigs, look for flame-resistant fabrics that are labeled “Flame Resistant.” Flame-resistant fabrics will resist burning and should extinguish quickly. To minimize the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts. 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.
MASKS: Some masks can cause overheating or difficulty breathing if worn for an extended time or during prolonged activity and playing. Masks can also inhibit vision, making them dangerous to wear when walking and especially when crossing the street.
AEROSOL SPRAY CANS: These can be dangerous and cause injury if sprayed anywhere near the face. Since aerosols are stored under pressure, it is imperative spray cans are kept away from heat sources to avoid the possibility of them exploding.
STOVE/OVEN USE: Designate someone to remain in the kitchen and keep an eye on the stove or oven as well as on the kitchen activities in general. Unattended cooking remains a leading cause of home fires in the United States. 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. 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.
CANDLES: Candles should be kept 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.Remember, as the evening wears on and we all get ‘leibidig’ the chances of improperly placed candles knocking over is heightened.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Remember that smoke detectors provide early warning of a fire, allowing extra time to escape and as a result, substantially reducing the risk of injury and/or death in a fire. Smoke detectors should be located outside each separate sleeping area and on every floor of one’s home. In case of fire DO NOT HESITATE to call the Fire Department. Dial 911 immediately, even before calling Hatzolah. This will give the Fire Department optimal notice and prevent a delayed response. Never attempt to extinguish a fire yourself. Remember, even when unsure, ALWAYS call. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
Never attempt to extinguish a fire yourself!? What are fire extinguishers for? Never say never. If you think you might be able to extinguish it and there is no serious threat of smoke inhalation or threat of a sudden big explosion you should definitely try to extinguish it. When the firemen arrive they can take over.
If I might add: It is also advisable not to set off grenades on Purim, or any holiday – or any non-holiday for that matter.
If one has a psak from a reputable Rav – whether it be a Purim Rav, or any kind of Rav – that he must, without question, use grenades, he should make sure to affix a label on the grenades warning that “grenades of all shapes and sizes can be extemely hazardous if not used properly”.
The label should also make note that children under 5 years of age should only set off grenades under adult supervision, and in an open area, where there are no people standing within 3 feet of the grenades.
If used correctly, grenades can be an absolute blast and a nice addition to any holiday. But if used incorrectly, grenades can turn any holiday into an absolute dud.
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