The Telegraph
Tuesday , November 13 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Festive do & don’t by dermatologist Sachin Varma

From lighting lamps and meeting friends to gorging on sweets and enjoying late-night card parties — it’s all part of Diwali. It’s also the time to burst crackers and play with fire(works). But beware, increased number of burns and accidents are being reported each year leading to damage to life and property.

Here are a list of simple measures, which can help us all have a safe and joyous Diwali.

DRESS RIGHT: Wear fitting cotton clothing with short sleeves. Long sleeves, synthetic material, scarves and dupattas may catch fire from the sparks. Moreover, synthetic material can stick to the skin, causing deep burns.

LIGHT WISE: Use wax diyas instead of oil or ghee ones. The latter can spill over and cause a fire hazard. Make sure the diyas are placed away from the clothesline on your balcony and terrace, or even inflammable material like wood or paper.

ELECTRIC WATCH: The electric lights are usually placed on the balcony grilles. That’s also where the diyas find space. So make sure that the electric wires are far away from the earthen lamps. Be very careful with your electrical fairy lights and rice lights that you use for decor. Do not fasten them to metal poles. Any current leak will result in electric shocks to those touching the pole.

SHOP RIGHT: Buy crackers of reputed brands and preferably ones you’ve used before. It’s good to have variety but being too adventurous can be dangerous. If

you’re experimenting with a new kind of firecracker, carefully go through the instructions before setting it off. Avoid bombs and dangerous crackers. Do not indulge in ones that cause noise pollution.

SPACE IT OUT: Keep your box of crackers away from the place you are lighting them. Also, don’t keep the box full of crackers near any gateway/steps or passage.

When lighting fireworks, be very careful. Burst them only in an open and safe space; light them with long candles that ensure at least an arm’s length between your body and the cracker. Don’t lean over fireworks and step back immediately after lighting one. Stay away from half-ignited fireworks, they could still be live. Finally, douse the dud crackers with water.

TURN BY TURN: Take turns in lighting fireworks, so that at least one person can keep an eye on safety and prevent crackers from being ignited too close to each other. Never point your firework at another person.

Don’t leave children unattended by any means. And never, ever allow small children to handle fireworks on their own.

EYE GUARD: Remember to protect your eyes. Wear glasses or cosmetic spectacles to prevent sparks or particles from entering the eye.

BREATHE EASY: Those with chronic lung ailments should stay away from the area where firecrackers are being lit. Smoke emitted from the firecrackers can trigger an asthmatic attack or can cause an already existing lung condition to deteriorate.

LOW SPIRITS: Don’t mix alcohol and firecrackers. Alcohol not only makes a person more reckless but also slows down the reflex response. Both these traits can be dangerous and can result in accidents.

LEGAL CODE: Always cooperate with the police or other government agencies. Their job is to keep citizens safe. Help them do their job.

Keep the emergency contacts — fire/police/ and hospital phone numbers — handy.

PET CARE: Keep your pet away from firecrackers. They are sensitive to light and sound and get scared. Moreover, since they cannot anticipate the dangers associated with the various fireworks, they can get hurt easily.

How do you ensure a safe Diwali? Tell