Play Safe with Fireworks!
Diwali, the festival of lights, is just around the corner. It is the festival of fun, frolic and fireworks. Old and young alike love and enjoy the splendour and sparkle of fireworks. Fireworks are associated with festivities and gaiety, not just in India, but worldwide. They lend a distinct colourful and glittering aura to religious, political, social, sports and other celebrations.
Fireworks are fun, but they are also dangerous. Fireworks have caused and continue to cause serious and tragic accidents. Efforts to control the dangers and ill-effects of fireworks began as early as the late 19th century. In 1890, a 'Society for Suppression of Unnecessary Noise' was formed in the US. This society persuaded people to stop using fireworks.
Awareness campaigns were launched so that fatalities and injuries caused by fireworks could be brought down. We too can ensure that we do not fall prey to the perils of fireworks and it is not very difficult to do so. Most mishaps due to fireworks occur as a result of carelessness, negligence and ignorance. Simple precautions can help avoid these mishaps.
To help you celebrate safely, we offer you the following safety tips:
- Store your fireworks safely: in a closed metal box, somewhere cool and dry, out of the reach of children
Store them away from all sources of heat, until the time they're needed. Don't keep the box under the stairs or in a passageway
- Pets hate loud noises and flashes and get very frightened on fireworks nights. So keep all your pets indoors and close all the curtains to make things calmer for them
- Have a full bucket of water handy for any emergency, and for putting used sparklers into
- If you have the chance to get together with some other families, try to go to the house with the biggest open space and safest surroundings
- Light the tip of each firework at arm's length, using a candle. Stand well back immediately. If one doesn't go off, don't go back to it - it could still be live, and could go off unexpectedly in your face
- At the end of your fireworks celebrations, douse the 'duds' with lots of water and keep them soaking in a bucket of water. Never throw left over fireworks onto a bonfire
- Different fireworks mean different hazards: Read the instructions on each one carefully (by flashlight, never an open flame) and follow them properly.
Things you definitely don't do!
- Never try to re-ignite the fireworks that don't light in the first instance
- Never give ANY fireworks to small children. Never throw fireworks at another person
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket. Never shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers
- Never experiment, modify, or attempt to make your own fireworks
- Watch what you wear: Loose clothing can very easily catch fire, and should not be worn near any fire or fireworks. Long, dangly clothes can be risky too
- One at a time please! Don’t light all the fireworks at once, do not rush
- Don't allow anyone else - especially children - to do so
- Fireworks and alcohol don't mix: Drinking can pose an added danger when there are fireworks and bonfires around. So don't drink while you light fireworks.
- Keep children well away from fireworks, and never let a child handle or light one. Even sparklers can be dangerous if unsupervised! Make sure that children are aware of the dangers.
- Don't light flying fireworks if there is a heavy wind. Never take unnecessary risks while lighting fireworks, just to show off. The best and safest option would be to pool the money that you intend spending on fireworks and have a professional perform pyrotechnics for the benefit of many.
Have a Safe Diwali!
Contributed by General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC).
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