First Thing First: This Diwali wear light cotton dress and slippers or shoes while bursting crackers. Avoid frills or party wear dresses when you are near candle lights or places where people are bursting crackers. Apart from cotton you can also wear khadi or denim clothes as these are safe and do not catch fire easily.
Fire incidents bring a dreadful atmosphere to anyone who’s experienced it
In Diwali, kids like to play with everything they see – be it candles, match box or crackers. Unfortunately, they can also cause a fire with just playing, and it is common understanding that you will not be around 24×7 to supervise your children.
The eight-year-old granddaughter of a senior Indian MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi had died after sustaining burn injuries during Diwali festivities in 2020.
The parliamentarian was celebrating the festival of lights with her family at their home in Prayagraj when the incident took place.
The child was playing with Diwali’s earthen lamps on the roof with other children in the afternoon when somehow her clothes caught fire. By the time the elders could rush to her and douse the flames, she had sustained 60 per cent burns.
Tragically, due to the loud noise of firecrackers, nobody could hear her screams. This is why it is crucial to prevent fire incidents and be vigilant.
In festivals like Dussehra, special care is generally taken when Ravana is burnt at parks and in open areas. Similarly, it’s just as important to look at all of the ways that you can prevent one from happening in the first place.
Families should think twice about using fireworks at home. Remember, burning crackers at home are not as safe as professionally organised displays; if things go wrong, they can lead to lifechanging severe burns.
This Diwali, keep candles and lamps well away from idols, deities, decorations, curtains or furnishings so they don’t catch fire. Ensure they are on a stable surface, so they don’t tip over. Don’t leave naked flames even for a short time and make sure children are always supervised and never left with candles or oil lamps.
Do and don’ts for Diwali celebration
- Don’t light crackers in hand.
- Don’t leave the firecrackers around burning candles and diyas.
- Never burst crackers near electric poles and wires.
- Never throw half burnt crackers, they may fall on an inflammable object and ignite fire.
- Don’t wear silk and synthetic fabric outdoors
Tough task as always for fire fighting services
Like every year, the fire fighting departments are already gearing up to prevent fire accidents as they cannot lower their guard even if fewer fire incidents get reported in their areas.
Take for example Delhi Fire Services which responds to approximately 30,000 fire/rescue calls every year on an average to serve the people of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
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Indian capital city New Delhi has more than 60 fire stations with over 200 fire tenders but ironically it saw a major fire accident in Mundka area earlier in May 2022, which claimed at least 27 lives. On the same day, a fire broke out in three bag factories at Kirti Nagar, and the next day another major fire was reported in Delhi’s Narela Industrial Area.
Then, a slum fire in Gokalpuri on 12 March 2022 claimed seven lives while the Anaj Mandi factory fire case on 8 December 2019 had led to 43 deaths. The tragedy was preceded by Arpit hotel fire case in Karol Bagh on 12 February 2019 where 17 people died in the accident.
While each case is different, there are several reasons for fire incidents other than Diwali festival time as people use a host of electric appliances like fans, coolers, and AC at their homes and workplaces. Some incidents are also caused by poor housekeeping and improper maintenance of electrical appliances.
Prevention of fire-related incidents in buildings and at workplaces
It is necessary to take every step to prevent any large-scale tragedy anytime of the year. Fire Safety Audit is an effective method to check the fire safety standards of a building. It observes if the building is constructed in compliance with the National Building Code of India and relevant local codes for fire prevention and safety measures.
Fire safety drills are useful in keeping the system ready in case of an emergency as these make sure that regular occupants are aware of the evacuation procedure. Smoke detectors should be installed in offices and residential complexes.
The safest way to deal with fire at workplaces is to prevent it
Every employer should identify hazards, assess risks and have a written risk assessment, including any unusual or other risks. Employers must carry out risk assessments and should record these in their safety statements.
A fire safety risk assessment should be conducted frequently. Fire prevention should form part of this. A fire safety risk assessment should include emergency escape and firefighting. At the same time, all employees in any establishment should be aware of their responsibility to report dangers.
Deliberately started fires pose very significant risks to all
The possibility of arson should be considered as a component of risk assessment and it is one that we can do much to control. The majority of deliberately started fires occur in areas with a known history of vandalism or fire-setting.
Typically, local youths light the fires outside the premises as an act of vandalism, using materials found nearby. Appropriate security measures, including the protection of stored materials and the efficient and prompt removal of rubbish, can therefore do much to alleviate this particular problem.