Ensuring home safety during Hanukkah celebrations

Your guide to eight low-risk nights

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Hanukkah is a joyous time for families to come together, celebrate traditions and create lasting memories. However, during the eight-day Festival of Lights, it's crucial to prioritize home safety to prevent accidents. 

In this article, we'll address some common safety concerns related to Hanukkah, including candle and fire safety, the use of electric menorahs and cooking accidents.

Candle and fire safety

A big part of any Hanukkah celebration is the lighting of the menorah. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Traditional menorahs

Traditional menorahs involve lighting candles each night of Hanukkah. As with any situation in which open flames are involved, it’s important to be cautious with placement and not leave your menorah unattended. Keep the menorah at least one foot away from flammable materials, such as curtains, tablecloths or decorations. Ensure it's placed on a stable, non-flammable surface.

It can be tempting to leave the candles burning throughout the evening, but unattended flames pose a significant fire risk[1]. Make a habit of extinguishing the candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Assign a responsible family member to oversee the candles during their burning time.

Keep menorahs out of reach

If there are children or pets in the house, ensure that the menorah is placed out of their reach. If young children are helping light candles, make sure it is done with proper supervision. Consider using candle holders with covers to prevent accidental contact with the flames. Educate children about the dangers of playing with fire.

Electric menorahs

For those concerned about fire risks, electric menorahs offer a safe alternative. These devices mimic the appearance of traditional menorahs without the open flame. They are a practical choice for homes with small children, pets or those seeking added peace of mind regarding fire safety.

That said, if using an electric menorah, ensure that it is in good working condition. Inspect the electrical components for any signs of damage or wear. Avoid using damaged cords or plugs, as they can pose a fire hazard. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe use. And it’s still advisable to unplug before you go to sleep.

Safe cooking and avoiding grease fires

Are you hosting a gathering with loved ones? Making a delicious plate of latkes? Just don’t leave your stove unattended. According to a 2023 report, home cooking causes an average of 158,400 house fires per year (which is 44% of all house fires)[2]. Unattended cooking was the leading cause of cooking fires.

Monitor what you’re cooking, especially if you’re frying. If your oil starts to smoke, that’s a sign that it’s too hot. Always keep a working fire extinguisher on hand to put out grease fires. And remember to never throw water on a grease fire.

Know your home insurance policy

Take the time to review your home insurance policy and understand what it covers. Most policies include coverage for fire damage, but it's essential to know the specifics. 

In the unfortunate event of a fire or other accidents during Hanukkah celebrations (or any of the other 357 days of the year really), document the incident with photographs and detailed descriptions. Promptly report the incident to your insurance provider, providing all necessary information for filing a claim.

Understand coverage limits

Be aware of your policy's coverage limits and deductibles. While home insurance typically covers fire damage, understanding the extent of your coverage ensures a smoother claims process. Discuss any additional coverage options with your insurance provider if needed.

Wrapping up

By taking proactive measures to address candle, fire and kitchen safety, and being informed about your home insurance coverage, you can create a safer environment for your family during Hanukkah celebrations. Prioritizing home safety ensures that the festival remains a time of joy and reflection without the worry of potential accidents.