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Fire safety during Diwali

Parul Chopra

Diwali is a festival of lights that brings light into our lives. However, the lighting of firecrackers could pose a few health hazards and lead to mishaps. Children seem to be particularly vulnerable during Diwali since they are the ones who are most enthusiastic about lighting firecrackers. Special precautions should be taken at the time of Diwali and other festivals as also marriages and local celebrations where fire crackers are used.

Safety and accident prevention

The Do’s

  • Make sure you buy Fireworks from a licensed shop.
  • Always keep the fireworks in a closed box.
  • Store crackers away from sources of fire or ignition also keep them away from the reach of children.
  • Read the instructions and follow all safety precautions recommended for the use of fire works.
  • Light crackers in open spaces.
  • Take care and light crackers at arms length.
  • While lighting the crackers stand at an arm’s length from the cracker.
  • Discard used fireworks in a bucket of water. In this manner you can avoid people from stepping on to and hurting their feet from used fireworks, which are thrown on the ground.
  • Keep buckets of water and blankets ready, in case a firebreaks out.
  • Wear heavier cotton clothes while lighting crackers so as to ensure maximum safety from fire.
  • If your clothes happen to catch fire, do not panic, drop down on the ground and roll.
  • Store water and keep it ready near the place of fireworks celebrations.
  • Keep a wet towel ready to cover your exposed parts when some crackers may accidentally burst.
  • Keep the regulators of your cooking gas cylinders turned off and do not keep the cylinders in balconies or open spaces to keep them protected from stray rockets.
  • Put earplugs (or cotton wool) in your ears.
  • Keep small portable extinguishers handy for urgent use.
In case of Injuries
  • If you happen to suffer from any burns splash tap water (not ice water), on the affected area. Repeat the process till the burning sensation reduces.
  • If fingers or toes are burned, try and separate them with dry, sterile, non-adhesive dressings.
  • Rush the victim to the hospital immediately.
  • Make sure the burned victim is breathing. If the victim’s airway is blocked open the airway, and if necessary begin rescue breathing.
  • Avoid any kind of friction or pressure on the burnt area.
  • Cover the area of the burn with moist sterile bandage (do not use blanket or towel for covering the burns).
  • Consult the doctor as soon as possible for proper medication.
  • Consult an ophthalmologist immediately in case of eye injuries.
  • Don’t burn crackers in crowded, congested places, narrow lanes, near sources of fire or inside the house.
  • Don’t let children burst crackers unaccompanied by an adult. Keep an eye on them constantly.
  • Don’t put fireworks in your pocket.
  • Don’t cover crackers with tin containers or glass bottles for extra sound effect.
  • Don’t light crackers on your hands. People have a tendency of lighting the fuses by bringing the cracker to the candle or incense rather than bringing the candle or incense to the fuse. Moving the candle of the incense to the fuse is the recommended method.
  • In the event that someone is burnt, don’t remove burnt clothing (unless it comes off easily), but do ensure that the victim is not still in contact with smouldering materials.
  • The earthen lamps lit on Diwali night are generally placed on balcony and window ledges. Ensure that these are not near any flammable material like wood, cloth or paper.
  • Usually, decorative lights and electric lights should never be tied to any metal poles as any current leak can energize the pole and give a shock to anyone who touches the pole.
  • Drinking alcohol presents an added danger when there are fireworks and bonfires around. So don't drink during your fireworks display.
  • Impress on children that firecrackers can be dangerous if adequate precautions are not taken.
  • Make sure a responsible adult whom the children listen to, is present when they are bursting firecrackers. Children often tend to listen to their favourite aunt or uncle on these matters
  • Warn your children against lighting crackers while holding them in their hands.
  • Pets get very frightened and jittery (and then occasionally become violent) on fireworks night, so keep all your pets indoor and close all the curtains to make things calmer. Remember it's not just your own fireworks that cause distress, so you may have to have your pets indoors on several nights when other displays are taking place.
  • And last, but not least, remember that Diwali is a festival to be enjoyed by all. So, celebrate in a manner that does not cause inconvenience or harm to your neighbour.

Thursday, 04 November 2010
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