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Hannukah & Burn Injuries


Hannukah (or Chanukah) is the eight-day Jewish holiday celebrated in December. Families typically celebrate each night with special prayers, foo, and menorah lighting. While the holiday is an enjoyable time for families, the occasion can be dangerous because of the number of open flames involved.

Specifically, The Jerusalem Report shares that hospitalizations increase by 16% during the holidays because of burn injuries. During Hannukah, people can suffer burn injuries because of incidents with cooking, the Menorah lighting, and other decorations. In this article, we will discuss safety tips specific to each of the dangers of fire.

It is important to note that those who suffer burn injuries can take legal action against liable parties for their injuries.

  • If a person suffers burns on someone else’s property, they may have a premises liability suit if negligence led to their burn injuries. For instance, if a homeowner knows their stove occasionally malfunctions and spits out flames, they should tell their guest that before they cook. If they do not warn visitors who help prepare Hanukkah food and they suffer injuries in a cooking accident, they may be able to pursue damages.
  • If a product led to a person’s burns, a person can hold the manufacturer, designer, and/or company liable for their injuries.
  • If someone is burned in an assault, they can also pursue civil action for their injuries. They can decide to pursue their attacker and/or the property owner of the property where the attack occurred. For instance, if a property has negligent security and the owner knowingly failed to address the issue on the property, the victim/survivor of the attack can pursue a premises liability case.

Candle & Menorah Safety Tips

As we mentioned, a fire hazard during the holidays is the Menorah—specifically the candles. If the candles fall, are bumped, or have electrical issues, they can start a fire. Here are a few safety tips concerning candles and menorahs:

  • Keep the Menorah and other candles away from other flammable objects. Two out of five home fires are started by candles during the holiday season. To avoid having a fire start in your home, be sure flammable items are not left or kept near the candles when they are burning.
  • Don’t leave burning candles unattended for long periods. After lighting the candles, you should not leave them unattended if possible. While the candles should be lit until they burn out when possible, you should keep them in your line of sight or near you for as long as possible.
  • Place your menorah on a sturdy, non-flammable surface. Many accidental fires can start because the table that holds the candles or Menorah catches fire or collapses while the candles are lit.
  • Keep menorahs away from pets and out of the reach of small children. Children and pets may be fixated on the candle lights and may try to touch them. They also may accidentally knock over candles or the table if they are close to them. You should also supervise children closely if they are lighting the Menorah.
  • Be sure homemade Menorahs are safe. You should consider doing a test lighting away from any flammable materials for your safety.

Cooking Safety Tips

Hanukkah celebrations typically include fried foods, such as latkes, sufganiyot, and other fried pastries. Some fires can start because of issues with the stove or frying oil. Here are some safety tips to avoid a kitchen fire.

  • Don’t overfill your pan with oil. Cooking oil is highly flammable. Be mindful of how much oil you fill your pan with; some fryers and pans even have a small line in the pan that indicates where you should stop filling the oil. If your pan does not have a fill limit line, do not try to fill the pan more than halfway.
  • Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot. Hot oil can be dangerous, especially if the oil spills out of the pan. Be sure to use a thermometer to check the temperature.
  • Keep pan handles facing the inside of the stove. When the pans face this direction, it is easier to avoid knocking the pans off the stove and causing someone to be burned by the pan’s contents or exposed to flames.
  • Check to make sure fire and carbon monoxide detectors work. Accidents can happen when people walk away from something cooking on the stove. Doing a test on your detectors and checking their batteries can help you avoid a more serious fire.
  • Always keep small children at least 3 feet from the stove. Children can be seriously hurt by popping oil and can hit items or people and cause an accident.
  • Use metal tongs. Some people use their hands to flip items, but you risk burning your fingers in the oil and knocking over the pan and hot oil, which can lead to a fire.
  • Keep flammable materials away from the stove. Dish towels and other flammable items kept near the stove can catch fire. You should also tie back your hair and tuck in any loose clothing as that is also flammable.

Holiday Decoration Safety Tips

If you plan to decorate, you should also take precautions as the electrical wiring in some decorations can cause a fire.

  • Check the holiday lights each year for worn wires. If the wires are frayed, it is best to simply replace those lights with new ones.
  • Check that decorations are flame retardant or not flammable. Decorations should have packaging that tells you whether decorations are flammable or not.
  • Do not link more than three strands of lights. You can short-circuit your electricity or cause a fire if you connect too many electrical lighting decorations.
  • Use clips to hang electric decorations. Some people use nails or tacks to hang their decorations, but the holes placed in the wires can cause issues.

Fire Evacuation Tips

Even if you take precautions, accidents can still happen and a fire may start. In the event of a fire, get out and don’t stop to collect your belongings. Be sure to gather everyone and make sure everyone evacuates the space. Before leaving, close the door behind you as that can isolate the fire and help reduce the area damaged by the fire. Finally, you should be sure to call emergency services (911) to get help.

Consult with Our Attorney

At the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli, we are dedicated to helping victims of negligence fight for their right to fair compensation, and we understand how life-changing, emotionally and financially, burn injuries can be. With over 25 years of legal experience, we can investigate the accident, establish liability, and help you develop a solid case strategy. While you focus on your recovery and medical care, we can handle the case legalities.

To discuss your case with a member of our team, call (516) 628-6402 or reach out online today.

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