Keep Safe When Celebrating Diwali

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued  safety advice in the run up to Diwali, which takes place in just a few days.

The festival of Diwali takes place every year and in 2015 falls on 11 November. It is known as ‘Festival of the Lights’ as it is believed that light signifies goodness and ‘divas’, or oil lamps, and candles are burnt throughout the day and into the night to ward off darkness and evil. Fireworks are also used in the celebrations.

The use of naked flames increases the risk of fire at Diwali, because of the use of divas, candles and fireworks – but just taking a few simple precautions will reduce the risks for yourself and your family.

Please ensure that you have a working smoke alarm installed on every floor of your home. If there is a fire, a smoke alarm will immediately warn you, giving you and everyone in your home time to escape to safety.

Here’s Bedfordshire’s tips for a safe Diwali:

Oil lamp and candle safety

  • Always place oil lamps and candles firmly in a proper holder so they don’t fall over and on a heat resistant surface
  • Put out candles and lamps  before you leave a room and before you go to bed
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets
  • Keep candles away from ribbons, greetings cards and other decorations – these could easily catch fire
  • Keep candles out of draughts and away from curtains, other fabrics or furniture, which could catch fire
  • Keep candles away from clothes and hair – if there’s any chance you could forget a candle is there and lean across it, put it somewhere else.

Cooking Safety

  • Take extra care when deep-fat frying or cooking with oil – hot oil can catch fire easily
  • Use a thermostat controlled deep-fat fryer which will make sure the fat doesn’t get too hot
  • Don’t get distracted when you are cooking – turn off or turn down the heat if you have to leave the cooking unattended
  • Keep tea towels, clothes and electrical leads away from the cooker and hob
  • Make sure saucepan handles are not sticking out from the hob or over a naked flame
  • Remember to check that the oven or hob are switched off after you have finished cooking

Firework Safety

If you are thinking of using fireworks as part of your celebrations, please follow the Firework Code.

Stay safe this bonfire night – organised displays are much safer

With Bonfire Night just a few days away, people are being urged to take extra care and are being encourage to visit an organised display.

UK Fire and Rescues Services are called to attend up to 50% more fire emergencies on and around November 5th than any other nights of the year. A large percentage of these attendances are a direct result of carelessness and/or irresponsible behaviour and therefore could be avoided.

Emergency service worker are more likely to be the victim of violence and hostility whilst carrying out their duties on November the 5th than most other nights of the year.

Organised displays are generally safer and people are less likely to be injured.  Professionally organised displays have health and safety rules they must adhere to, are generally more spectacular to watch and  provide better value for money.

However if you are having fireworks at home, ensure you have enough room in your garden, avoid drinking alcohol if you are lighting fireworks or bonfires and make sure children are supervised at all times. Supervised events also reduce the likelihood of anti-social behaviour and mean fire service resources are available for other accidents and emergencies.

Take a look at tips for holding your own display and make sure they conform to the correct British Standard.

And although this hard-hitting video produced by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service relates to Hallowe’en, the dangers of fancy dress clothing remains just as valid for Bonfire Night also, as sparks from fireworks, fires and candles pose just as big a danger.

CFOA has been campaigning for the past six months to get fancy dress items reclassified and is looking forward to the outcome of the government’s investigation. This includes carrying out spot checks on on retailers selling fancy dress costumes and carrying out flammability testing to assess whether they are safe for sale.

And steer clear of fake or illegal fireworks – the consequences could be devastating as this video from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Services demonstrates.