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Fire Safety: This Passover and Beyond

kitchen fire

For our Jewish community members, this March marks the month of Passover. To usher in this important Jewish holiday, candles are lit and preparations are made for the holiday service. As a food pantry that serves Kosher foods, we recognize the importance and significance of the Passover meal and all that it represents. We also recognize the increased risk for fires and fire-related injuries. Therefore, throughout the month of March, we are distributing fire safety resources to community members who visit the pantry. We have included smoke alarm safety tips and a Home Fire Safety Survey from the National Fire Protection Association. We have also created a Passover Fire Safety “cheat sheet” with tips on candle safety, preparing the kitchen, and preparing for Seder (found below and on our Facebook page!)


Passover Fire Safety

Passover is a time for a holiday service filled with special foods, songs, and customs. However, when hot water and candles are used, and everybody is busy cooking, there is an increased risk for fires and fire related injuries.


Candle Safety:

  • Use sturdy candleholders.
  • Keep candles at least 4 feet away from curtains, draperies, decorations, blinds, and bedding.
  • Place candles out of reach of small children and pets.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended and make sure to extinguish them when you are finished.


Preparing the Kitchen:

  • Be aware that oven cleaners (such as Easy-Off) cause severe burns. High exposures to cleaning products such as ammonia and bleach can irritate the respiratory system. If mixed, these two chemicals can produce a poisonous gas that can cause death if inhaled.
  • Do not leave your oven unattended while the oven is on or in the self-cleaning cycle.
  • If using a hot plate (blech), always check the appliance prior to use. Do not use if power chords are worn, frayed, or damaged.
  • Take precautions when handling hot and boiling water and use oven mitts or potholders.
  • Create a “kid-free safety zone” of at least 3 feet from any cooking appliances.


Preparing for Seder:

  • Stay in the kitchen, don’t leave cooking food unattended. The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.
  • Wear shorter or tighter fitting clothing (loose clothing is more likely to catch on fire or get caught on pot handles).
  • Turn pot handles inward facing the wall to prevent burns caused by overturning or spills.
  • Keep the area around the stove clear of towels, papers, pot holders or anything that could burn.
  • Have a pot lid handy to smother a pan fire. Do not attempt to pick up the pot or pan. Turn off the heat source and cover the fire with a lid.
  • DO NOT USE WATER ON A COOKING FIRE! It will cause splashing and spread the fire.
  • Make sure all appliances have been turned off when you are finished cooking.
  • Treat burns immediately with cool running water and seek medical attention.


Top Three Fire Safety Tips:

  1. Make sure that all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the home are functioning properly
  2. Have a home fire escape plan
  3. Complete the Home Fire Safety Survey


One Final Tip!

Although the City of Pittsburgh Fire Bureau has put its free smoke detector installation program on hold due to COVID-19, households are still able to call 311 Response Center or the Fire Bureau at (412) 255-2863 to see if they are eligible for the program and to be put on a waiting list for when the program resumes.


This month and always, happy and safe cooking, everyone!