For many across the country, Diwali means rangoli, lights, delicious food, new clothes, and more importantly, fireworks. A colourful display is an integral part of celebrating the fabled festival that has its acclaim internationally as well.

But did you know that the dazzling crackers and fireworks are also instrumental to thousands of emergency room visits each year? Sadly, serious injuries are reported, and some of them irreversible. Besides air pollution due to toxic chemicals and poisonous fumes, considerable noise pollution is reported as well. Despite this families are out into the open willingly bursting firecrackers, mostly, coerced by the love for their children.

The COVID-19 pandemic has still not existed and the smoke emanating from firecrackers generates aerosols, which lead to breathing troubles in vulnerable individuals. Experts have indicated that this air pollution can actually aggravate COVID-19.

If we have to celebrate the festival, we might as well do it safely, and ensure that each one of you enjoys the festivities with happiness and vigour.

Here are some tips to stay safe during Diwali

  • If being bought in advance, firecrackers must be stored in a cool, dry place. Keep them away from moisture so that their crackle quality is maintained for D-Day. You must also keep these crackers away from children. If your kids insist on lighting the crackers, make sure that an adult is supervising them at all times. Maintain an arm’s length distance as you light the fireworks, and those of you who are happy watching must maintain a distance of at least 5 metres. Always have a bucket of water and a mug next to the crackers area to douse unwanted fires.
  • Additionally, fireworks must always be lit in an open space. Avoid enclosed spaces for fear of catching fire, including congested areas and narrow lanes. Do not use bare hands to light crackers and steer away from electric wires and poles. You may also want to avoid firecrackers with high decibels.
  • Dress right for the celebration. When you are feasting or chatting with friends, wear your Diwali attire, which may be fluffy and loose. But you must refrain from wearing these clothes when you are trying to burst crackers. Free and fuzzy clothing is prone to catching fire easily. Instead, wear full-sleeved, non-flowy cotton clothing with closed shoes. Wear comfortable cotton clothes during the firecracker event. Besides, ensure that you do not use hand sanitizers before lighting a firecracker. Sanitizers are highly inflammable due to their alcohol content.
  • Lighting lamps or Diya-s can lead to accidental fires. Place them away from curtains and other inflammable objects to avoid mishaps. While you ensure that the lamps are placed on a flat surface, you must also take care that they are nowhere near electrical wiring. Take precautionary measures to ensure that babies and pets do not venture near the lamps. Leave the doorways clear, lest children end up tripping on them inadvertently.
  • Diwali is the festival of lights, but it also encompasses delicious food and savouries. Practice high levels of hygiene when you prepare consumables. If you do not have an alternative and would like to purchase sweets and snacks, then choose reputed brands for your feast. Yet, as far as possible, avoid eating street food.
  • You must also remember that assembling in a crowd is detrimental to health. The COVID-19 pandemic is still looming large.

Keep this DIWALI SAFE!

ALERT is an NGO that is consistently working towards a better emergency care ecosystem in India and the rest of the world. We value people, humankind, and their contributions to society.

Issued in public interest by ALERT