Fire chiefs urge families to celebrate Diwali safely

Burning candles forDiwaliCleveland Fire Brigade chiefs urge families who celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali to be aware of the increased fire risk to their homes during the celebrations.

Diwali, also known as the ‘festival of lights’ takes place on Tuesday 13 November this year and is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. The festival has seasonal, religious and historical significance and lots of candles, tea lights and fireworks are used during the celebration which is why there is increased risk of fire and accidents.

Les Jones, Head of Community Safety said: “This religious festival is a busy time, as families and friends get together and lots of candles are lit and left to burn overnight. All of these ingredients increase the risk of fire in homes as it is easy to get distracted with all of the festivities going on.

“We would like to encourage people celebrating to heed the following advice:

• Treat the Diva (candle) as you would any other flame. Use only enough ghee (clarified butter) to last your Puja (worship).
• We would advise you not to leave the Diva or candle unattended, but if you do, make sure it rests securely on a surface that will not melt or burn.
• At all times, keep the flame a safe distance from curtains, furniture or decorations. Long hair and clothing (especially saris, chunris/chunis and dupattas) are also very flammable.
• Treat fireworks with great caution. Only buy fireworks marked with British Safety Standard BS7114 and always read and follow the safety instructions.
• Keep candles and fireworks out of reach of children and animals and children should be supervised at all times.
• If you cook deep-fried food:

  • Dry your food before placing it in the hot oil
  • If the oil starts to smoke, turn off the heat and leave the pan to cool
  • Never fill the pan more than one-third full of oil.
  • If your pan smokes or catches fire, never throw water over it and get out, stay out and call 999.

Cleveland Fire Brigade offers residents a free Home Fire Safety Visit, where firefighters will come to your home and give valuable safety advice and help make an escape plan which will be tailored to you and your family’s needs. Free smoke alarms will be supplied and fitted if needed. Call us on 01429 874063 to arrange a visit at your convenience.