Brooklyn, NY – A Free Fire Safety and Home Protection Event attracted hundreds of community residents on Sunday, June 7. Sponsored by Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), the event was specifically designed to offer vital and often overlooked information to residents in the hope of making them and their families as proactive as possible with regard to preventing fires.
“The tragedy that one of our community’s families experienced impacted all of us on a very deep level,” Hikind told the crowd of several hundred men and women who had assembled in the auditorium of Bais Yaakov of Boro Park in Brooklyn. “We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to be as diligent as possible when it comes to purchasing appliances, the use of those appliances, and everything else we can do to keep our homes safe. It is our obligation to be informed and diligent in matters concerning safety.”
Assemblyman Hikind then introduced Bezalel Steinberg, a licensed electrician from Borough Park, who discussed various things to look for when purchasing appliances. Steinberg explained that all hotplates and warming trays should only be placed on a blech, stove or granite countertop because the bottom will get hot and may cause a fire. He noted that it is important to make certain that the wires are not touching the device and that the cord is not frayed and is not sticky (a sign of wear). Steinberg recommended not using extension cords with appliances unless the cord is rated for 12 Amps and that it’s always important to only allow licensed electricians to work on your wiring.
Both Assemblyman Hikind and Steinberg pointed out various features of the three warming trays that were placed on display for the crowd (courtesy of The Buzz and Duddy’s Appliances, both in Boro Park). The key differences between the three units, and other units that are on the market, is that some are tested by reputable organizations, such as Underwriters Laboratories or its Canadian or European counterparts, and some are imported from China with no oversight.
Assemblyman Hikind then introduced NYC Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who spoke to the audience for a few minutes about how much he learns from Assemblyman Hikind’s events. “As a freshman Councilman, I look to Assemblyman Hikind for guidance on how we can bring our communities together,” said Menchaca. “Events like this are very important and I’m grateful to be here.”
Following Councilman Menchaca, Steve Comer of the NYC FDNY spent 15 minutes offering detailed fire safety advice. Among the items he covered, Comer explained that hotplates and warming trays are ideally not designed for 24-hour contiguous use; that using a timer to turn off the item, after it is no longer needed on the Sabbath, is advisable. “Look around your kitchen when you’re cooking,” said Comer. “Make sure things that shouldn’t be there aren’t too close to the stove. Keep a kitchen mitt handy and hold the cover of a pan so you can quickly replace it there’s a fire in the pan. Keep baking soda available because that will put out fires. Never try to put out a grease or electrical fire with water. If there’s a small fire, dial 9-1-1 then you can attempt to put it out. Emergency responders will not be angry that you called if they arrive and you’ve solved the problem… Fire extinguishers are under pressure so use them from a distance, as instructed on the unit. Keep your back to the exit when using them and never allow children to play near a stove.”
Billy Thea of Zman Technologies also addressed the audience regarding the use of his company’s state-of-the-art thermal outlets, which were being distributed free at the event. The thermal outlets are the first of their kind and are designed to protect residents from electrical fires because they automatically shut off when they reach a certain heat level (before a fire would occur).
Assemblyman Hikind and his experts remained on hand for more than 30 minutes after the event concluded, answering questions from the many attendees. The Assemblyman recognized NYC Councilman Brad Lander, who visited the event, and announced regrets from NYS State Senator Simcha Felder, who planned to attend but was unable to do so because his daughter had just given birth. Assemblyman Hikind also recognized Yanky Daskal and Motty Katz of the Boro Park Shomrim, and Baruch Moskowitz, of the Flatbush Shomrim. Hikind offered his sincere gratitude to Zman Technologies, Leviton and Sunlite for the thermal outlets and digital timers that were distributed free to attendees. He also thanked The Buzz and Duddy’s for supplying the sample hotplates, Amazing Savings for the bags to carry home the many free items in, Moisha’s in Flatbush for supplying bottled water for the attendees, and Bais Yaakov of Boro Park for offering its facility for the event.