One of the most important issues are stoves and ovens being left “On” causing a potential buildup of Carbon Monoxide in your residence. Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless and potentially deadly gas causing headaches, dizziness, redness in the face, nausea, and flu like symptoms.
Because of those dangers, we along with the Orthodox Union’s Safe Homes, Safe Shuls, Safe Schools initiative issue warnings before the holidays when the use of fire is part of the tradition. The risk of CO poisoning is an area of concern due to several incidents over the years sending families and friends to the hospital for CO poisonings. We urge families to replace their Smoke/Carbon Monoxide alarm batteries prior to the holidays and provide some guidelines for carbon monoxide safety:
• All homes must have working CO detectors. We recommend the electric plug in models with a display and battery backup or battery operated ones. A basic unit is adequate however. We recommend at least one on each level.
• IMMEDIATELY CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT OR 911 IF YOUR SMOKE/CO ALARM GOES OFF! The fire department will respond quickly to check homes with multi-gas meters and remove the CO.
• Your house should have the hood above your stove vented to the outside. A hood that vents back into the kitchen will not help reduce CO.
• An alternate to the stove is an electric hot plate with a timer to shut on and off, UL listed, which has no flame, so does not produce CO.
• An electric crock pot, UL listed, is another alternative, which is insulated and reduces the chance of someone burning themselves.
• You should have a one-foot non-combustible area around the stove and crock-pot.
• NEVER use an extension cord with these devices! They require too many amps and could cause a fire. The above devices should be plugged directly into an outlet.
• If you must operate a stove, leave a window open near the stove at least one fist (approximately 4 inches), with a second window open at the opposite side of the house. This will allow some cross ventilation and a supply of fresh air.
• An electric stove with a warming drawer is another solution. This would keep food warm without generating CO.
• A future solution would be an electric stove that would turn on and off during the Sabbath and holidays as needed. The community is always looking for manufacturers who are willing to work with us.
As you continue to prepare for the holiday, besides the above-mentioned safety issuewe ask that you keep the following in mind:
- Candles – As candles or oil is lit in the menorahs please keep them away from draperies and other combustible materials. Extinguish the candle(s) when leaving the house and do not leave them burning unattended. While lighting candles make sure an adult supervises or assists any child lighting them.
- Fires – If you have a fire get out, stay out, and call 911 immediately. Do not try to put the fire out yourself. If the fire is in a room with a door, close the door on the way out. If the item on fire is movable do not try to move it to the outside because once it gets more air the item may reignite and cause more damage or trapped you inside the building or causing you to get burned. [TLS]