Celebrate Diwali safely this lockdown

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Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) are working closely with the Lancashire Resilience Forum and local partners to help keep people safe this Autumn season.

 

Diwali, the Hindu New Year festival, is celebrated by many households in Lancashire, specifically around Preston however sadly it cannot be celebrated like normal this year. With England in lockdown two visiting other people’s homes and holding family feasts, a custom so intrinsic to the festival, is not permitted this year.

 

In lockdown at the start of the year people across Lancashire joined together to give our NHS a helping hand by staying home and safe to help keep the numbers of people going to hospital to a minimum. Please do what you can this November to ensure the NHS don’t receive high hospital attendance numbers that could be easily avoided just by following some simple safety advice.

 

With people only able to celebrate Diwali with their household they may be looking to celebrate differently to still make it special however we are asking people to please do so safely and follow our advice around cooking, candles and fireworks.

 

Diwali is known as the ‘Festival of the Lights’ and sees an increase in the use of ‘diyas’ or oil lamps and candles used around the home. It is believed that light signifies goodness therefore various lamps are burnt throughout the day and into the night to ward off darkness and evil.

 

To keep safe this Diwali please follow these simple safety guidelines.

Cooking family feasts and tasty treats

  • Almost half of all accidental fires in the home in Lancashire are cooking related.
  • Keep it clean, keep it clear – your cooker and hob
  • Distractions could be disastrous – don’t leave pans unattended
  • Don’t fill your pan with more than one third of oil
  • If the oil starts to smoke, turn off the heat and leave it to cool
  • Never pour water over hot oil
  • Clothing ignites quicker than you think – keep scarves and long sleeves tied back
  • Only use appliances like pressure cookers if they were purchased from the UK and carry the CE mark
  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home
  • If a fire does start, don’t try to fight it yourself. Get out stay out, and call 999

For more cooking safety advice click here.

 

Lighting up your home

  • Secure candles and diyas in a proper holder and at a safe distance from curtains, decorations and clothing
  • Keep them out of reach for children
  • Consider swapping candles for battery-operated LED tea lights
  • Use only enough ghee or oil for a diya to last your puja
  • It is common practice during Diwali to leave candles burning all day but please extinguish candles and diyas when you leave the room, the house or go to bed
  • Be careful if using incense sticks
  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home

For candle safety advice click here.

 

Fireworks and festivities

 

You can read more about fireworks safety here however we encourage people to follow the fireworks code:

  • Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  • Place on a stable surface, light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  • Dispose of fireworks by soaking in a bucket of water for several hours, bag it and bin in your usual black bin once completely cool
  • Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  • Keep pets indoors and ensure children are safe and a good distance away from the fireworks
  • If using sparklers ensure they are held in a gloved hand at arm’s length and there is a bucket of water to put them in once the sparkler is out

For more firework safety advice please click here.

 

Finally LFRS wish to remind people about the importance of checking on your neighbours. Our Nosey Neighbour campaign encouraged people to make a regular phone call to an isolated, vulnerable or elderly person or knock on their door to check they are okay. With darker nights and curtains drawn it is all to easy to forget about how someone is.

 

We’d like to wish happy Diwali to everyone celebrating the Hindu festival of lights. We know festivities are different this year but we hope Diwali brings happiness, prosperity and joy to you and your families.