The Guyana Fire Service would like to extend Deepavali greetings to one and all.
Deepavali/Diwali symbolises the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.
While the idea behind Diwali and the manner of celebration varies from region to region, the essence remains the same; to rejoice in the Inner Light (Atma) or the underlying reality of all things (Brahman).
As we celebrate the Festival of Lights, citizens are reminded and admonished to do so in a safe manner.
Celebrations often include many fire hazards such as fireworks, firecrackers, diyas and candles.
All of these items have the potential to cause serious fires if not used correctly, so it is important to ensure they are handled with caution and the necessary fire protection equipment are in place in the event of an accident or fire.
Citizens are urged to make use of smoke detectors and to keep fire extinguishers handy as a safety precaution.
Be sure to test these equipment beforehand to ensure they are working properly and can be used effectively if necessary.
Follow these safety tips to enjoy a safe Diwali:
- Ensure diyas, candles, firecrackers are properly extinguished after use.
- Do not leave cooking unattended, remove pans from the heat source if you need to leave the kitchen.
- Traditional clothing, such as saris and long hair can be very flammable, so be careful around fire and fire starters.
- Use only enough ghee for a Diya to last your Puja and make sure that it rests securely on a heat resistant surface.
- Keep flames at a safe distance from curtains, furniture, decorations, loose clothing and other combustible materials.
- Fit smoke alarms on each floor of your home and test them regularly.
The use of fireworks/firecrackers is illegal by law, however if they are used, the following should be borne in mind:
- Use only good quality crackers and burst them in open areas only. Keep a safe distance while lighting the cracker to prevent your clothes from catching fire. Keep a fire extinguisher and some water and sand handy.
- Fireworks result in air and noise pollution and the mishandling of crackers can have a serious negative impact on your sight and hearing and can even cause breathing problems. Hence, one needs to exercise restraint and choose firecrackers for the occasion wisely.
- Refrain from applying hand sanitizers before lighting candles. Sanitizers are usually inflammable and can cause serious fire hazards.
- Wear a mask. In addition to helping you keep the virus at bay, the mask will help you stay clear of pollution as well.
- Never give sparklers to a child under five.
- Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
- Always supervise children around fireworks and firecrackers.
- Never put fireworks or firecrackers in your pocket or throw them.
- Never go near a firework or firecracker that has been lit – even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode.
- The spinning of steel wool is also a dangerous practice, if doing so it should be done at least 20 m from persons, buildings or vegetation.
For further advice on how to keep you, your family and friends safe from fire, or to make a report of a fire in your area, please call the Guyana Fire and Rescue Service via the 912 hotline.