Diwali is a mega event in India. It is a happy occasion for everyone across India, and it should be kept that way! Being the Festival of Light, Diwali celebrations expose you to many fire related activities such as lighting diyas, fire crackers, among many others. So, there is always a chance for fire caused injuries, if you do not take due precautions. It would be wise for us then, to dwell on the darker aspects of Diwali celebrations first.
You must have gone through the newspapers, day after Diwali over the last few years, and inevitably they are filled with disturbing news of fire outbreaks and deaths caused by fire. Let us throw in some figures to add spice to our argument.
- 1 out of every 1000 people, in a city, suffers from fire injuries during the Diwali celebrations.
- More than 73% of the victims are in the age range of 5-30 years.
- More than 90% of the victims were admitted to the nearby hospitals after sustaining more than 5% of body surface burns.
You would not like to run to a hospital to ruin a day of perfect celebrations, right? So, here are some of the best practices (dos and don’ts) for a safe and happy Diwali.
Best Practices for this Diwali
- Buy from Licensed Shops: While haggling for prices, most of us end up purchasing fire crackers and other fire decorations from the street side vendors. This is equivalent to “playing with fire”. While the street side shops might give you unbelievable prices, is that savings worth it? The cheap products are unsafe, and they jeopardize your safety. The licensed shops have to care about their reputation, so the items they provide are safer. This is why Diwali, especially in terms of fire items purchases, is not the time to make savings!
- Store it safely: Now, that you have brought home all those crackers and other fire items, you should stay very cautious. These items should be left inside a box, and not left in the open where they may catch fire by any chance. Moreover, the fire items should be kept very far from the kitchen or areas where there is risk of high fire. Keep these away from the preying eyes of your kids too.
- Read the Safety Instructions: Before lighting the crackers, make sure you have read through the safety instructions. Some crackers should be lighted from a distance, only. While there are others which are prone to burst earlier than anticipated. Make sure you know what is coming your way, and take necessary precautions likewise. In this regard it should be said: buy crackers from only the best brands, as they stay true to their purpose and do not sell you a dummy.
- Burn them in open spaces: Do not even try to burn crackers in cramped areas where there is lot of ignitable things around. Fields and playgrounds, with their wide open spaces, are the best location to burn crackers and have fun during the Diwali. Also do not walk around close by the half extinguished crackers.
- Discard them safely: Once you are done with burning the crackers, it is not wise to step away. You should care about the wellbeing of others as well. This is why all used firecrackers should be discarded in a bucket of water before leaving, so that no one else steps on them and gets hurt. There will be some half extinguished crackers, which you must discard with precaution.
- Cracker burning musts: You should wear thick cotton clothes, ideally full sleeves that cannot catch fire and cover maximum parts of the body. Make sure to wear a pair of shoes or slippers while burning the crackers, so that you do not burn your legs. Also keep the crackers at an arm’s length while igniting them. Make sure you carry a bucket of water and blankets, which will protect you in the likelihood of fire outbreaks.
- Aerial Crackers: Aerial crackers, such as rockets, should be handled with a lot of care. They should not be pointed at someone’s open window or door. These aerial crackers can cause major fire outbreak in your neighborhood when adequate safety is not taken.
- Stay Clear of Electricity: You should not burn crackers near electric poles or wires, as it can lead to fire outbreak within no time at all.
- Other Home Precautions: Night before Diwali would be a good time to clear out the roof top and discard inflammable objects. You should anticipate some aerial crackers landing on your roof, to make it safe. Also, park your car within covered garage so that it stays safe.
- Keep aside the Adventures: Do not try to perform any daredevil acts. Remember: ones who play with fire get their hands burnt! There are many people who try to burn bombs and crackers in their palms, among other acts. Diwali is a time to have fun with your family; it is not the time to take undue risks.
- Keep Medicines ready at hand: You should always anticipate the unexpected that is why it would be a good idea to keep ointments and bandages close by at hand. For minor burns, splash water on the burn area and then apply ointment to ease off the pain.
- Protect yourself: If you find the bursting sound of the crackers too loud, protect your ears with soft cotton earplugs. For those with respiratory problems, it is advised to stay away from cracker burning areas.
You should have emergency numbers (such as fire brigade, hospital or doctor) ready at hand. We hope that these would not be needed, but again you have to stay prepared for the worst! You should wake up the day after Diwali with happy memories, not with a burnt hand or feet. If little precautions, such as the ones mentioned above, can help you attain this goal then aren’t the compromises worth making?