Lakewood Volunteer Fire Dept: Making a Lag Ba’omer Bonfire? Here’s what you need to know

lag baomer 2014With Lag Ba’omer just around the corner the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department would like to offer the following safety tips. Please review and employ these bonfire safety tips and have a joyous holiday:

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

Please follow all rules and regulations of the OCFM’s Office:

• Bonfires affecting traffic and/or requiring police assistance please should contact the Lakewood Police Dept. Traffic Safety Unit and attach their approval letter with application.
• 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.
• A 10’ – 15’ safety area must be set up around the bonfire (depending on the bonfire size). No fires are to be set up on the ground with wood chips or mulch as a base.
• Only use clean wood, use no flammable liquids to start the fire, have a garden hose with a good water source at the ready. Cotton balls soaked in olive oil in an approved metal pan are also acceptable.
• Do not start 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 for the extinguishment.
• There will be strict compliance with the size of the fire (5’x 5’x 5’) due to weather issues and available open space. 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.

For further assistance call the OCFM’s Office at 732-370-7360 Mon – Fri 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM.

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 Necessities: Have a garden hose with a good water source at the ready. Don’t have flammable materials near the fire pit. Gas, 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 any injury. Build the fire in a safe location and have emergency materials necessary 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 Cv”s: do not hesitate to call the appropriate emergency services, the Lakewood Fire Department and/or Hatzolah. Follow the instructions of the Fire Marshal.

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


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  1. *VERY IMPORTANT*: DO NOT burn any kind of treated wood, as they contain toxic substances that will be inhaled by those in the area. This is especially true of wood treated with CCA (chromium copper arsenic), which can cause very serious health problems. Burning treated wood also happens to be illegal. It’s kind of surprising that the LFD didn’t mention this… maybe they check for it when inspecting the site.

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