Children Learn About Fire Safety in Time for Chanukah
On Monday, November 29th, just in time for Chanukah, a fire prevention program was welcomed by over one hundred and fifty students at Talmudical Academy in Baltimore, Maryland. This innovative, exciting program was presented by "Maccabee Aish" in partnership with the "Chessed Fund", and is a novelty in the Jewish community. The project began in 2005, as a result of the increasing rate of fire related deaths and severe burns resulting from religious observances.
The program founder believes that through educating Jewish children of the additional fire hazards faced by observant practice, we can prevent future deaths and injuries. Traditional fire safety prevention programs do not address the specialized needs of a Jewish family. "We need to recognize that we are exposed to additional risk of fire accidents on a weekly basis by lighting shabbos candles, leaving the stove lit, havdolah, to name a few. We must be diligent in preventing unnecessary fires and burns" says Dr. Eli Goldstein, founder of Maccabee Aish, Jewish Fire Prevention. The newest addition to the Maccabee Aish program has tackled this problem.
Their first stop was Talmudical Academy. Students toured the first Mobile Jewish Fire Safety House in the world. The two-story trailer has the arrangement of a Jewish home, down to the Mezuzahs on each door post. The children first walked through the kitchen, learning about NO-GO ZONES, and safety in relation to blechs, crocks pots, hot water pumps, and other staples found in a Jewish home. They became familiar with fire extinguishers, and smoke detectors which were found in every room. In the upstairs bedroom, the children watched a video on fire safety. In addition, the children were shown a fire escape ladder in the window, and taught how to escape through this route, if necessary. In the living room, there were shabbos licht, a havdolah tray with candles, and a menorah displayed prominently in the window. The tour stressed the importance of having two exit escape routes in every bedroom. A fire escape route was mapped out and implemented to allow the children to understand how to put it into practice. The teachers praised the hands on approach that the trailer provided for the students to learn about fire safety in the Jewish home. "It was especially important for the students to see fire safety in real life situations: shabbos candles, bedikas chometz…one windowsill even had a menorah.
This program gave the children a heightened awareness of the dangers presented by fire specifically in the Jewish home" says Morah Sara Horovitz. During the tour, each child was given a fire hat, a Junior Chief Maccabee Badge, and an Activity Book. The children finished the program prepared for a safe Chanukah and holidays all through the year. Throughout Chanukah this important program will be travelling to schools in the Baltimore area. Future plans include traveling to Lakewood, Philadelphia, Silver Spring, and other Jewish communities.