Lag Ba’omer info and tips from the Lakewood Fire Department

With Lag B’Omer just around the corner, the Lakewood Board of Fire Commissioners in conjunction with Fire Chief Mike D’Elia Jr., Fire Prevention Coordinator Jacob Woolf, and the members of the Lakewood Fire Department offer the following safety tips. 

Bonfire Permit: Anyone planning on having a bonfire must have a permit from the Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office (OCFM).

Please follow all rules and regulations of the OCFM’s Office including but not limited to:

  • Those planning bonfires that may affect traffic and/or those bonfires requiring police assistance should contact the Lakewood Police Department Traffic & Safety Unit.
  • Provide the most accurate time for the fire to begin as the pre-inspection schedule is set up based on the time on the application. All time changes after the application is submitted must be provided at least 48 hours prior to the bonfire.
  • A 15-foot safety area must be set up around the bonfire (depending on the bonfire size). No fires are to be set up with wood chips or mulch as a base.
  • Only use clean wood, do not use flammable liquids to start the fire, and have a garden hose with a steady water source at the ready. Cotton balls soaked in olive oil in an approved metal pan are also acceptable.
  • Do not ignite the fire until a Fire Marshal has inspected your site and given his approval.
  • Anyone who does not have an approved Permit will have their fire extinguished and may be subject to penalties.
  • The size of the fire, an approximate 5’x 5’ x 5’, will vary depending on weather issues and available open space and will be strictly adhered to. Stay tuned to your weather stations for up to date weather conditions. If asked by a Fire Marshal to reduce the size of the fire, please follow their directions. They may have a reason due to the weather conditions and/or other considerations at the time.

The Location: Location needs to be taken into consideration prior to building a fire. A good rule to follow is to keep the fire a minimum of 25 feet from any type of building or vehicle. Avoid building the fire near low-hanging branches, tall grass, or brush. Basically, stay away from items that can easily catch on fire.

The Fire Pit: Building a proper fire pit is one of the best precautions to take. Instead of building the fire on the surface of the ground, if applicable, dig a hole at least 12” to 18” deep. The diameter of the fire pit should be at least two feet wider than the fire will be. Place small rocks or gravel in the bottom of the pit for proper drainage. Make a circle of larger stones around the perimeter of the pit. Don’t pile firewood too high. A small amount of wood, combined with kindling materials, will start a good fire. Don’t let flames exceed three feet in height or width.

Bonfire Safety Measures: Have a garden hose with a steady water source at the ready. Don’t leave flammable materials near the fire pit. Gasoline, lighter fluid, and alcohol are combustible items that will feed the fire and should NOT be used. Do have a shovel nearby. Once the bonfire burns out, use a shovel to turn the materials in the fire pit so blowing embers won’t sweep out of the pit and start a rogue fire elsewhere. 

Common Sense: A bonfire needs constant attention. Only a responsible adult should tend the fire. (For the purpose of a bonfire, an 8th Grader is not a qualified adult.) Children should never be allowed to play near an open fire. Bring a first aid kit along. If an injury occurs, you’ll have supplies available to dress an injury. Call for emergency assistance when needed. Build the fire in a safe location and have emergency materials handy in case of a crisis. Being prepared for the worst while expecting the best, is a good motto for bonfire safety. Follow the direction and supervision of the Fire Marshall at all times.

In Case of Injury/Danger: Do not hesitate to call the appropriate emergency services, the Lakewood Fire Department and/or Hatzolah. Follow the instructions of the Fire Marshal.

Stop, Drop and Roll: 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.

The Lakewood Fire Department wishes the community a happy and safe Lag B’Omer!

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  1. How do we know who has a permit for the bonfires? In the past, there have been numerous bonfires— many not watched over by an adult– and probably without a permit. The weather is going to be hot this week– which could lead to a wild fire if the site is not watched properly. Please keep your area attended to and permitted, and keep it safe for the rest of us.

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